By the time Malcolm X was killed, he was a man reborn.
In the words of Malcolm associate Peter Bailey, if Malcom were successful in bringing human rights charges in the World Court, “it would have been a devastating propaganda blow to the United States.” Meetings were planned with Dr. King to enlist him in the effort.
The prospect of Malcolm and Martin joining forces was FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover’s “worst nightmare.”
As he traveled the world, Malcolm survived assassination attempts and sharpened his analysis of the world situation. His words at the Oxford Union just weeks before his murder resonate more painfully today than when he first spoke them:
We’re living at a time of extremism, a time of revolution. People in power have misused it, and now there has to be a change and a better world has to be built. And I for one will join in with anyone, I don’t care what color you are, as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth.
On this, the 55th anniversary of his death, it is worth it to consider whether Hoover’s nightmare might have been one of the country’s last, best hopes.
John Kirby is the director of FOUR DIED TRYING, an upcoming feature documentary on the major assassinations of the 1960’s and their calamitous impact on the country. To join the struggle for justice for Dr. King, Malcolm X, and John and Robert Kennedy, sign the petition.