By Richard B. Muhammad – Editor
Buck dancing: A type of folksy tap or soft-shoe dance common in the southern U.S. states during the slave era. Performers incorporated buck dancing into “cooning” shows, where a black person (or white person in blackface) would dance and sing for a white audience’s enjoyment. (Urban Dictionary)
Intellectual discourse is part of the Black tradition and generally a good thing, when the discussion is centered on ideas, strategies and courses of action. And apparently there is such debate going on between intellectuals Cornel West and author Ta-Nehisi Coates.
In any debate, folks line up on both sides. They defend and attack ideas and proponents of different thoughts. Beautiful. So how did Jelani Cobb, who has apparently dropped William as his first name, drop the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s name into this mix? And why did he accuse the Minister of murder, repeating old, discredited lies linking Min. Farrakhan to the killing of Brother Malcolm X?
In defending his friend Coates and attacking Dr. West for attacking Brother Coates, Mr. Cobb directed this tweet at Dr. West: “You speak about Malcolm’s legacy and the blood he shed on behalf of black people, yet at the Million Man March you embraced Farrakhan–the dude who helped kill Malcolm.”
Really? Murder is a crime with no statute of limitations, so I challenge Mr. Cobb to defend and prove his slander. It has already declared by the man who admitted to killing Brother Malcolm in the Audubon Ballroom in 1965 that two others convicted of the killing were innocent.
In his autobiography, Malcolm says he came to realize that efforts to harm him while he was overseas could not have come from the Nation, nor the Hon. Elijah Muhammad.
None of the contemporary accounts of Malcolm’s death, whose passing was mocked in American media, mention Louis X, who was a young, Muslim minister in Boston. It is only during the 1980s and 1990s as the Minister resurrects the destroyed Nation of Islam that these lies surface to try to sabotage his efforts to help uplift Blacks and create a Black united front against White oppression. At the same time, Malcolm X was raised and elevated as an acceptable figure–even honored with a U.S. Postal Service Black Heritage stamp. It celebrated El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, and we know how America loves a revolutionary, militant, Black nationalist, Muslim man. The New York Times, the day after his death, described Malcolm X “as an extraordinary and twisted man, turning many true gifts to evil purpose.”
Min. Farrakhan has spoken candidly of this painful moment in Black America’s history. He has denied any role in Malcom’s death and repeatedly called on the U.S. government to release every file related to the killing of Brother Malcolm. The U.S. government was certainly involved in fomenting discord and death through its Counterintelligence program at the federal level and there were numerous efforts to infiltrate and destroy Black organizations by local and state law enforcement. Over 50 years after the death of Malcolm X, why won’t the U.S. government share all it knows? Who is being protected?
“It’s known that I had nothing to do with the assassination of Malcolm X and there’s no statute of limitation on murder,” said Minister Farrakhan in May 2000. His words came after a taped interview with 60 Minutes reporter Mike Wallace and Attallah Shabazz in Phoenix, Az., that lasted for more than four hours. The actual broadcast lasted about 12 minutes. The interview covered many subjects, including work of reconciliation with the Shabazz family over five years.
Later the Minister told The Final Call in a May 2000 interview, “we must remember that the discussion of the process of healing and atonement toward reconciliation was not the aim of 60 Minutes. Therefore, my discussion with Dr. Shabazz, her standing with me at the Apollo Theatre, where Mike Wallace and his wife were present; her presence and speech at the Million Man March with two of her daughters present, and, the continuing effort on the part of Dr. Betty Shabazz with members of my family and staff to foster the reconciliation were all omitted. This bears witness to the evil intention of Mr. Wallace and 60 Minutes. They did not want the American public to see us in the process of healing. …
“For Mr. Wallace, in his commentary, to say that Dr. Betty Shabazz believed that I was responsible for the murder of her husband and that Miss Shabazz and all of the Shabazz children believed the same was a very wicked and malicious thing for him to say, especially when in the four-hour interview Miss Shabazz said that she knew 35 years ago, that as the local Minister of Boston, I was nowhere to be found in the hierarchy of the Nation of Islam, nor did I have any national power to call for the death of her father.”
The year 1995 marked the beginning of a path to reconciliation sought by Dr. Shabazz and Min. Farrakhan. That year Qubilah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, was charged by federal authorities in a plot to kill the Minister. Min. Farrakhan exposed the U.S. government scheme inside the murder plot. He declared he wanted no harm to come to Dr. Shabazz or her family. He blasted the FBI as never a friend to him or Black people. Federal authorities backed down and the case was quashed. He also exposed the use of a Jewish informant, Michael Fitzpatrick, to entrap a young woman who was struggling at the time.
What should have been a defense fundraiser for Qubilah May 6, 1995 became a celebration of her release and A New Beginning. Dr. Shabazz spoke at the Apollo Theater event, and Min. Farrakhan spoke as well. “J. Edgar Hoover was determined that no Black Messiah would rise to unite our people in their quest for justice and true liberation. An untold sum of taxpayer dollars was used by the FBI to hurt the legitimate movement of our people toward liberation. Our zeal, our love and hatred, our ignorance was manipulated by powerful outside forces,” said the Minister at the Apollo Theater.
“The government admits that it worked night and day to bring about a separation between Brother Malcolm X and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Once this division was accomplished, the government by its own admission had agents on both sides to manipulate the zeal and the ignorance inside the ranks of the Nation of Islam and among the followers of Brother Malcolm X to create the atmosphere that allowed him to be assassinated and the Nation of Islam to sustain wounds from which it has never recovered. … So Betty and I shouldn’t be here alone. The government has to answer for what has happened,” he said.
It is beyond insulting for Mr. Cobb to toss in his Twitter diatribe that a speech by Mrs. Shabazz at the incredible Million Man March, which was devoted to atonement, reconciliation and responsibility, was part of a deal brokered to cover-up murder and to free Qubilah. This is madness, not the pursuit of truth, nor intellectual discourse. It’s garbage. One wonders why Mr. Cobb would toss such garbage into a debate that doesn’t concern Min. Farrakhan at all.
Perhaps his paymasters at The New Yorker magazine or the Lavin Agency want to drum up some pre-Black History Month interest and higher speaking fees. Or perhaps he believes like other Negroes playing to their White progressive and pseudo-liberal bosses and audiences that it’s ok to slander Farrakhan. They think it’s OK to shill and 21st century Twitter hambone or buck dance for White folks. It’s not. And those who love the Minister will never fail to confront you for your lies and your slander. If you want to pander to White folks and Negroes of your ilk, do that. But keep Min. Farrakhan’s name out of your mouth.