From Civil Rights to Black Liberation: Malcolm X and the Organization of Afro-American Unity

From Civil Rights to Black Liberation: Malcolm X and the Organization of Afro-American Unity

From Civil Rights to Black Liberation: Malcolm X and the Organization of Afro-American Unity

From Civil Rights to Black Liberation: Malcolm X and the Organization of Afro-American Unity

Synopsis

One of the few books that offers historical research about the OAAU, a revolutionary organization founded by Malcom X and rooted in tradtions of black nationalism, self-determination and human rights. The author establishes the relevance of Malcolm's political legacy for the task of rebuilding the movement for Black liberation almost thity years after his assassination.

Excerpt

This book represents a detailed description and analysis of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). Such an analysis is necessary to do justice to the content of Malcolm's life and his politics. Such a description and analysis, based on interviews with OAAU members, FBI surveillance files, previously published accounts, and OAAU documents has never before been done. The legacy of Malcolm X cannot be appreciated without a clear and detailed exposure to the OAAU. In addition, the hostility of the U.S. government toward Malcolm X is logical in the context of his OAAU activities. Spike Lee's film biography of Malcolm X does not in any way present or discuss the OAAU, its process of creation, or Malcolm X's activities in Africa or the United States on its behalf. The CBS documentary on Malcolm X which aired on December 3, 1992 and was hosted by Dan Rather also skirted any substantive description of the OAAU or Malcolm's activities in Africa. In fact, on this show Mike Wallace asserted that in Malcolm X's last months he was a man without a following, a constituency, or a plan. Substituted for the significance of the OAAU is a thoroughly unwarranted argument that the most important development in Malcolm X's life at this point was his trip to Mecca and his changing pro-integrationist stance on White people. This is a thread common to both the Spike Lee film and the Dan Rather special. If this approach is sustainable, it leads directly to the conclusion that Malcolm X is not a revolutionary but rather a tragic figure in the mold of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Another more liberal but equally deceptive perspective suggested by these treatments is that Malcolm X was a misunderstood African American Horatio Alger. Psycho-historian Bruce Perry's controversial biography of Malcolm X has almost nothing to say about this most important period in Malcolm's life.

Information from the OAAU period will refute these erroneous images of Malcolm X. This refutation starts with the process of the organization's creation. Domestic and international developments meshed to produce the OAAU. In creating the OAAU, Malcolm X in the last eleven months of his life cultivated three groups: a united front composed of progressive segments of the Black middle-class and working-class activists in Harlem united around a community-based agenda of and struggle against the common forms of ghetto exploitation; allies in Africa and the Third World who could get international recognition for . . .

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