Yesterday marked the 51st anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination and a fully packed audience of family, friends, community leaders and others impacted by his work gathered to remember the fallen leader at the very site where his life was taken decades ago in 1965.
Formerly the Audubon Ballroom, the center was established under the guidance of Malcolm X’s late widow, Dr. Betty Shabazz, who approved the partial reconstruction of the site under the condition that the ballroom where her husband was shot be preserved.
The program itself opened with African drumming and Guinean flute playing from “SHEPS HETEP ANCESTRAL MUSIC,” followed by reflective words of welcome from Malcolm and Betty’s daughter Malaak Shabazz, who spoke briefly about the day her father was killed and her mother’s tireless efforts to carry on his legacy through the building of the center up until the time of her death in 1997. A general welcome was also given from the Shabazz Center Executive Director Bryan Epps.
The memorial went on to include an invocation by Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid, Imam, as well as a handful of powerful performances, heartfelt commentary and a somber moment of silence led by family attorney Londell McMillan at the exact hour that Malcolm X’s life was taken — 3:10 p.m.
Speakers who participated in the program included:
- Lloyd Williams, The President and CEO, The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce. Spoke on Malcolm’s legacy in the area of economics and independence
- Sheila Evans-Tranumn, Boardmember, Board of Education of People of African Ancestry spoke on ending miseducation and raising the self esteem of black students.
- Mychal Denzel Smith, Contributing Writer, The Nation (magazine), spoke on pop culture and Malcolm’s enduring influence on black/pop culture
- Glenn Martin, Founder & President, JustLeadershipUsa, spoke on the need for action… specifically related to ending mass incarceration and injustice in court system.