Book Excerpt Of The Week: “Seventh Child: A Family Memoir Of Malcolm X” By: Rodnell P. Collins

Written By: Elsie Law - May• 24•13

“Malcolm was led to his position by his vast knowledge of Black history in the United States. He constantly reminded us that the highly praised U.S. Constitution not only did not recognize human rights of Black people; it did not even acknowledge our ancestors as full human beings. To placate southern enslavers concerned about their representation in the House of Representatives, the “freedom loving” Christian founding fathers decided that each African would be counted as three-fifths of a person. Is there any other written constitution in world history that described some of its residents as three-fifths of a person? ‘With that as a beginning,’ said Ma, ‘it’s no wonder that the federal government for over two hundred years had no qualms about failing to protect the human rights of our people. To make a strong case at the United Nations, all Malcolm had to do was cite the three-fifths in the Constitution and list all the documented occasions, from enslavement to lynchings to Jim Crow laws, that the federal government failed to protect our human rights. There was no need to distort or magnify that history.’

Traditional civil-rights leaders knew that history as well as Malcolm did. ‘However, they also knew the history of what happened to Black leaders who spoke forcefully on foreign affairs,’ said Ma. ‘Marcus Garvey, whose slogan, ‘Africa for Africans,’ deeply disturbed the colonialists, was jailed, then deported; Paul Robeson was flagrantly harassed and denied a passport for travel; W.E.B. Du Bois, who attended most of the early Pan-African conferences, was flagrantly harassed and also denied traveling rights. He eventually decided to live permanently in Ghana. Later, five years after Malcolm was assassinated, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated when he spoke the truth about the Vietnam War.'”

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