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Malcolm X - The Autobiography (excerpt)

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Edited and with an afterword

provided by Alex Haley

With contributions by Yonas Endrias and Günther Jacob

Agipa-Press &
The German Library - CIP standard recording
X, Malcolm:
The Autobiography / Malcolm X.
Ed. And vers. by Alex Haley.
Foreword by Yonas Endrias.
(From the American by Dieter Brunn ...
The news over. Margarete Effertz ...).
Bremen: Agipa-Press; Berlin: Harald-Kater-Verl. 1992
Uniformity: The autobiography of Malcolm X

ISBN 3-925529-06-7 (Agipa-Press)

ISBN 3-927170-04-6 (Harald-Kater-Verl.)
From the American by Dieter Brunn, Margarete Effertz,
Gerd Hüttenhofer and Dago Langhans

Editing: Fabian Becker and R. Geraedts

The original edition appeared in 1965

under the title The Autobiography of Malcolm X
published by Grove Press, Inc. New York
(C) 1964 Alex Haley and Malcolm X
(C) 1965 Alex Haley and Betty Shabazz

(C) 1992 for the German language edition:

Agipa-Press / Verlag Jürgen Heiser Bremen
All rights reserved

Cover design: BeyerLiquidskyBehrens Hamburg

Total production: WDA Grafischer Betrieb Brodersdorf
Cover photo: Washington D.C. Public Library
Photo inside: Alice Windom

Agipa-Press in cooperation with:

Eichenberger Str. 9 Harald-Kater-Verlag
2800 Bremen l Görlitzer Str. 39
Tel. 0421-354029 1000 Berlin 36
Fax 0421 -353918 Tel. 030-618 2647
ISBN 3-926529-06-7 ISBN 3-927170-04-6

Printed in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG)

This book is from my beloved wife, Betty
and dedicated to our children;
their understanding and sacrifice made possible
allow me to do my job.

Malcolm X
at escort

“History doesn't develop in a vacuum.

Events that go back centuries, decades, years,
move like waves through the sea of ​​time to finally
to reach the shores of our life today. ”These lines
come from the black journalist and former Black
Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been known as
political prisoner on death row of a prison in
American state of Pennsylvania against his death sentence
fights. He wrote these lines in an article he wrote in
Commemorating the political legacy of Malcolm X
For the twenty-seventh year after his murder, he wears a
of the waves that are against oppression, racism and war
rebellious American black community in the 60s
Years ago, Malcolm X to Europe.
His autobiography made in the US, in South America, in Africa
and the Caribbean has returned to a great extent in recent years
The book that has been read is hereby converted into a new German
Translation submitted.
Without the autobiography, a foreword in the true sense of the word
in front, i.e. introduce this directly into the text and in the
would provide interpretations in advance, we want to follow
Yonas Endrias' thoughts on immigrant politics
Forum Berlin puts readers in the care of the
Dismissed the narrator who made his life story with the help of the
black writer Alex Haley for over two
Years ago. Malcolm X describes the life path
of a black child and youth in a state of racism
and manhood madness torn society. He shows
like the growing Malcolm Little
emotional rebellion and "lawless behavior" rebelled
and how he then through the experience of years of imprisonment
his spiritual powers are discovered and developed and become conscious
Becomes a fighter and organizer of the Black Community. There
Malcolm X does not cover his mouth with coloring,
lets on the contradictions of his person and his time
participate and challenge to contradict.
But history doesn't develop in a vacuum. Neither
in the USA, nor in Europe, time has stood still. Therefore
the book is rounded off by an appendix, on the one hand
with the glossary information about people, terms and
Offers issues that appear in this book to many
but will not or will no longer be familiar.
On the other hand, the appendix offers an opportunity to look into the
Motives for the republication and those of controversy
The history of the creation of the present edition marked.
And at a time when especially people with black people
Skin color in Germany racially persecuted and in front of the eyes
a largely inactive or even hooting public
being mistreated and murdered is ultimately the contribution of
Günther Jacob as an impetus for a discursive and fruitful
Dispute to understand Malcolm X.
With the wave on which this book and with it the
the social upheavals of the 60s
The coasts of our life today should also reach the
political prisoners re-enter our consciousness
under fabricated charges, some for well over twenty
Years in US prisons because they are
have dared the fight for which Malcolm X was murdered
is, in the ghettos, barrios, reservations and prisons
to continue. This book is dedicated to all of them.

Agipa-Press, November 1992

by Yonas Endrias

"Dirty Negro" or just "Look, a Negro"

Frantz Fanon
“You're only a negro!
A negro!
A dirty negro! «
David Diob

“Malcolm, you need to figure out what it means to be a

To be a nigger. ”That was his teacher's reply, as Malcolm did
Expresses desire to become a lawyer.
The three quotes are from blacks who are thousands of
Kilometers apart on different
Continents lived. Still the same experience.
It is precisely these common experiences and experiences that deliver
the topic of conversation for hours of discussion about the
Pains racism black people everywhere
inflicted on the world and the bitterness that follows. The
The climax of such discussions is always the precise and
humorous analysis of Malcolm. Its charisma, its captivating
Radiance, his power of articulation and energy are still there
better to experience on audio cassettes or videos - a
literal empowerment.
Constantly and totally experiencing racism on your own body,
those black experiences in culture, psychology and language
Reproducing the oppressor is a difficult one, if not
impossible undertaking. As Bob Marley put it
has: "Whoever feels it knows."
My last experience with Malcolm's words was telling
for this. As friends with the translation of the autobiography of
Malcolm X started giving them to us from Immigrant Affairs
Forum to read the rough draft of the first chapter. Just around
this was the time of racist terror in Germany
preliminary climax reached: attacks on refugee homes,
Murders, Hoyerswerda ... - that's why our club had them all
Hands full to deal with the legal, medical and victims
to provide human assistance.
One of the people we were just looking after at the time is Jonah. A
eighteen year old Namibian youth who was the victim of a
had become a racist attack. A group of over
thirty Germans attacked an apartment in Wittenberge
Namibian youth in whom Jonah was sleeping. The
Germans lashed out at random and then threw
Jonah and another Namibian boy out the window
on the fourth floor.
Jonah was in the hospital for over a year and sometimes will
now still being treated as an inpatient.
What does this have to do with Malcolm X?
I gave it to Jonah on one of my hospital visits
Opening chapter of the newly translated autobiography. Until then
had he had little desire to read anything at all. As
I visited him again the following day was his first
Question: "Do you have it with you?"
"What is it, Jonah?"
"The other chapters of Malcolm X!" I was surprised. He
had the many pages in his hospital bed overnight
read and loved it. I think it was the first time
he'd even heard of Malcolm X - and Malcolm had
acted on him immediately.
The magical power of Malcolm's life and words
acts independently of geographical and temporal limits
all blacks equally strong.
The same pain binds all blacks everywhere, be it in
Alabama, Johannesburg, Brixton, Marseille or Hoyerswerda.
Malcolm has the gift of just making the connections one of
experienced in a similar way to all black peoples in the world
Oppression in a way that everyone can understand
to reproduce, just in a language from below. The
Link between slavery, colonialism, the brutal
and the subtle mechanisms of racism and the roles of
Actors in the current world political arena is supported by
Malcolm portrayed in a way that not just intellectuals
and insiders, experts or white leftists understand
but all the people it concerns.
Especially those experts who start the discussion about racism
monopolize ours in endless seminars and workshops
Discuss problems and build a career by ours
Describing ailments and compiling statistics are not part of the
Solution, but part of the problem. Your results are always
same - they need more money to explore us further

Malcolm's analysis and "Message to the Grassroots" is always

humorous, precise, without unnecessary words and academic
Slang. Malcolm's biography and / or his experiences are also
the biography or the experiences of the majority of blacks
in the western metropolises. That is why there are many
Black in his words again. He's just describing
this life undisguised.
Nevertheless (or precisely because of it) stood the white world, theirs
Politics and its powerful media decided and closed
against Malcolm. He was portrayed as a militant separatist who
allegedly only preaching hatred and violence and thereby the white
Put fear and horror in the world. His words were called
Classified as "dangerous". Where does this fear come from?
Who is Malcolm dangerous for? James Baldwin, a
undisputed genius of black literature, answered it like this:
“What made him so strange and dangerous wasn't that he was
hated the whites, but that he loved the blacks; that he
understood the dreadful existence as a black man, and that too
Causes for it. And that he was determined, hearts and minds
to edit until they would finally realize their location to them
to change."
Malcolm was just as good at black history too
At home as in daily politics. He always emphasized in his speeches
again the historical connections and the historical
Meaning of africa. The fact that Africa during the
Slavery was deprived of its children first and then
one hundred million of his children from the European conquerors
have never been killed in white historiography
correctly represented. Even the fourteen thousand children who
dying daily on the continent today are a direct result
this unmanageable past of white
Colonialism. The inhabitants of the African continent
were first with religious and later with "scientific"
Justifications dehumanized to inferior living beings
explained. This resulted in the bloody massacres and the
The door was wide open to over-exploitation of their labor force. The
Nature that is a spiritual part of the people of this continent
was, was despiritualized in order to benefit the European
Plunder intruders without hesitation and systematically and
to be able to destroy, true to the Christian motto »Make yourselves
the earth subject «. Even the Germans who came to Africa late
were no less cruel than the others
European colonial powers. On the contrary, the dress rehearsal for
the mass murder in Germany took place in Africa. Almost the
entire ethnic group of the Hereros in Namibia became one
only campaign wiped out by Germans.
In addition to massacres of Africans and destruction
African in nature, our history has also been mutilated
and spilled. Africa was declared without history, its
Residents as "primitive" and their culture as the "preliminary stage" of
European »civilization«. Anything from
historical importance could have been north
postponed it as part of "Euro-Asian" history
could be presented. European historians and
Archaeologists were busy trying to find black people
To erase faces from history. Only now will they
forced by black historians and archaeologists to
the remnants of the glorious history of Africa their right
Granting importance. An African proverb says:
“The whites come to us in Africa, get really big ones
Eyes and see nothing. ”The imposing remains, be it in
Zimbabwe, Ife or Axum, however, could not be overlooked. Since they are now
once there, European historians needed an explanation
find or invent for it; these great testimonials
African history was therefore not allowed under any circumstances
Be the creations of black people. So there was
the declaration that they could only be the product of a "forgotten"
white civilization, or they are from creatures of others
Planets have been created. Black historians like Anta Diop,
Theofile Obenga, Joseph Ki-Zerbo and Ben-Jochannan did
an end to these ridiculous white fantasies and
provided final evidence of the invaluable contribution
of the continent of Africa to the intellectual and technical
Developments on our planet. And they exposed that
The urge to proselytize and the alleged civilizational task
Europe. What did Mahatma Gandhi in England respond to
Ask a journalist what he thinks about Western civilization
hold He said, "It might be a good idea."
Today blacks everywhere fight against this violence, that of the
History of Africa has been done. You don't want any more
accept that they are portrayed as the bastards of the west
become. Malcolm was a firm believer in the dialogue between
Africa or the »Third World« (Black World) with the
black America and cherished the opinion of the brothers and
Sisters in Africa. He said enthusiastically: “I was impressed
from their analysis of the problem, and many of their suggestions
played a big part in shaping my own views too
expand. "On many occasions Malcolm spoke" of those
Similarities not only of the peoples of Africa, but of
entire "Third World" (Black World) and spoke out for
a common front. He clearly saw the old colonial one
Strategy of divide and conquer through artificially created
or deliberately overemphasized differences. The similarities
were more important to him than the differences. "We have a
common enemy. We have this in common: we have
a common oppressor, a common one
Exploiter by whom we are discriminated together. But
only when we are all convinced that we are one
have a common enemy, we can meet on the basis of
what we have in common, unite. «This commonality
makes us "blacks": "black" as the political color of the
Oppressed and as a battle term. Malcolm already assigned
his time suggests that whites keep coming back
get together to solve their "common" problems,
even the "communist" Soviet Union with the
"Capitalist" USA.Even then he prophesied that the
Differences between the white powers disappear and
they form a common front against the black world
would. Today should the last skeptic of it
be shaken awake that this prophecy has meanwhile come on
fatal way has been confirmed by reality. While the
internal borders in the EC countries will be dismantled
at the same time non-white people crossing borders
Airports and streets selected according to their skin color
and subjected to controls that are compatible with the
Counter-terrorism are taken. Racism is spreading
in Europe and cost the lives of many brothers and
Sisters. Racist organizations and ideologies »whiter
Superiority «are gaining more and more ground. Parties with
clearly racist statements are becoming more popular, come in
many municipal and national representative bodies and in the
European Parliament. The threat posed by the
"Communist evil empire" in the east is created by the
Replaced the enemy of the south and expanded Europe into a fortress.
Given these new developments in Europe and in the
USA is once again gaining in importance Malcolm's analysis. Day
day by day it becomes clearer where the front lines are. The
Brutality repeats itself, even in a similar way to that
in Malcolm's lifetime. At that time, white youths followed
going to a pub "hunting blacks" and beating everyone
Black people they met on the street, dead or for
Cripple. In reunified Germany that is what it means today
"Smack Negroes".
Malcolm's statements describing this brutality
have been deliberately distorted by white media and politicians.
His demands are quite simple - it's about
fundamental human rights. “We don't fight for them
Integration, we are still fighting to break away. We fight
the right to live as free people. We fight in the
Act for rights that are more important than civil rights, and that
are human rights. "
So Malcolm didn't want to accept that non-violence
was only required of blacks and not of them
Whites who killed his father. He said, “If
if they make the Ku Klux Klan nonviolent, then I will
to be non-violent. If they use the white vigilante groups non-violently
do, then I will be non-violent. ”Therefore are for
Malcolm Peace and freedom inseparable - where there is none
If there is justice, there can be no peace either.
But if you listen carefully to Malcolm, you notice that
he often speaks of "love" rather than hate. Like himself it
expresses, we should “love all who love us and all
respect those who respect us and be kind to those
who are friendly to us. ”Often, both in the US and in the
also in Europe the racist brutality is trivialized and
downplayed, and self-defense by blacks was made
criminalized. For example, the black community is fighting
in England for years for the right to self-defense under
the motto »Selfdefense is no offense« (»Self-defense is
no crime «).
At that time there were attacks on black people and lynchings on the
Agenda. The nineties don't promise any either
better prospects for blacks in the US and Europe.
The demarcation policy of "Fortress Europe" and theirs
racist politics as well as the racist institutions, media
and ideologies flourish in Europe in the 1990s
Cost of black lives. In southern Europe you have to
African workers in inhumane conditions
work, in Italy the Camorra and the Mafia control them
Exploitation. Many black people were shot dead on the street
been. In Spain, when harvesting tomatoes, Africans are in
Greenhouses are used in which it is up to 60 degrees. In
There were cases in Catalonia where blacks were alive "for fun"
have been burned.
In Northern Europe it has become fashionable to host refugee homes in
To set fire. Becoming immigrants
stabbed from moving trains or from windows of
Thrown high-rise buildings. The vast majority of murder victims in
Germany are Africans *. Jörge Gomondai from Mozambique
was thrown from the moving tram in Dresden,
Antonio Amadeo from Angola died in Eberswalde
beaten. Samuel Jeboah from Ghana is in Saarlouis in one
Burned refugee home. Kwaduo Owusu, James Dwomo, Adu
Gyamfi and the many other nameless Africans who
have died - such as the one whose decayed corpse
was found in a sewer in the district of Harburg -
they all testify to the brutal violence that is being waged against blacks
Malcolm loved all black people. It hurt him when
racist violence people only because of the color of their skin

see Documentation of Racism, Jan. 91 - Dec. 91, English / German, in Visa,
No. 2, April 92 Reference: IPF, Oranienstr. 159.1000 Berlin 61
crippled or killed. Just this love for his brothers
and sisters made him a target of white hatred.
This freedom fighter deserves its right place in the still
black history to be written.
Malcolm knew he wouldn't live long. He said, “Me
do not fear me, for I am already dead. "Like most of them
important personalities of the black liberation struggle
Malcolm was also assassinated.

Yonas Endrias
Immigration Policy Forum Berlin May 1992
Malcolm X
The autobiography
1 nightmare

When my mother was pregnant with me, she told me
later, one night a hooded troop galloped
hooded rider of the Ku Klux Klan to our house in
Omaha, Nebraska. They surrounded the house, swinging theirs
Shotguns and rifles and yelled for my father to go
come out. My mother went to the front door and opened it.
She positioned herself so that everyone could see that she was pregnant
and told them she was alone with her three young children
Home, my father is gone, preaching in Milwaukee. The
Klan people showered them with threats and warnings,
we'd better leave town because "the good ones,
Christian whites "would not put up with my
Father with Marcus Garvey's Back to Africa Lessons
"the good Negroes Omahas causes unrest".
My father, the Reverend Earl Little, was a Baptist preacher
an avid organizer for Marcus Aurelius Garveys
U.N.I.A. (Universal Negro Improvement Association). With help
of followers like my father, Garvey built of his
Headquarters in the Harlem borough of New York from the banner
the purity of the black race and called the black masses
to their ancestral African homeland
to return - one thing that made Garvey the most controversial
black man in the world made.
Still making threats, the Klan people gave
finally the spurs of their horses and galloped around the house
around, taking all the window panes to the rifle butts
hit. And as suddenly as they had appeared, they rode
they with their flickering torches away again into the night.
When my father came back he was furious. He decided to
wait until I was born - which should be soon -
and then move away with the family. I am not sure,
why he made that decision, because he wasn't
intimidated black like most of them were back then
and how many still are today. My father was a
mighty, about 1.90 meters tall, very black man. He
only had one eye. I never found out in which way
he had lost the other. He was from Reynolds, in the state
Georgia, where he went to school after third or fourth grade
had left. Like Marcus Garvey, he believed that
Blacks in America never have freedom, independence and
Self-respect and that they therefore America the
left to white men and to their African country of origin
should return. One of the reasons my dad turned up
had decided to risk his life and himself the
To spread this philosophy among his people,
was that four of his six brothers died violently
died. Three of them were from white men
killed, one was lynched. My father could then
did not yet know that of the three remaining, he himself
Including, the only one naturally, my Uncle Jim
Way would die in bed. My uncle Oscar was later im
North shot by white police officers. And finally died
also my father himself by the hands of the white man.
I have always believed that I too died violently
will come. I've done everything I can to get it
to be prepared. I was my father's seventh child. He
had three children from a previous marriage - Ella, Earl and Mary,
who lived in Boston. He had my mother in Philadelphia
met and married where their first child, my oldest
biological brother Wilfred, was born. From Philadelphia
they moved to Omaha where Hilda and then Philbert gave birth
It was my turn next. My mother was
twenty-eight when I was in a hospital on May 19, 1925
was born in Omaha. We moved to Milwaukee where
Reginald was born. From infancy he had a kind
Fracture disease that handicapped him for the rest of his life.
Louise Little, my mother who lives in Grenada in the UK
Born in the West Indies, looked like a white woman. your
Father was white. She had straight black hair, and
her accent wasn't black. Of their
White father is unknown to me except that she is aware of him
ashamed. I remember her saying she was glad to see him
never to have seen. He was of course the reason that I
got my reddish brown skin and hair color. That was me
fairest skinned child in our family. (Later, out in the
World, in Boston and New York, I was one of the millions of
Blacks crazy enough fair skinned as a kind
To look at a status symbol who believed that you actually did
be fortunate to be born like this. Later
however, I learned every drop of this white blood
Hate rapist inside me.)
Our family only stayed briefly in Milwaukee because of my father
wanted to find a place where he could get our own food
and maybe open a shop. The teaching
by Marcus Garvey emphasized that one is different from the white man
should make you independent. For some reason we left
then to Lansing, Michigan. My father bought a house, and
soon it was back, as it had been his earlier habit
had been an independent preacher of Christian doctrine
in the local black Baptist churches. During the
Week he wandered around spreading the message of
Marcus Garvey.
He always wanted to own a shop, and someday
had he started putting savings aside when - how
so many times before - some stupid Uncle Tom negroes started
the native whites stories about his revolutionary
Whispering beliefs. This time they came
Get-out-of-town-threats from a local hate
Association that went by the name of the Black Legion. They dressed
wear black robes instead of the usual ones
white. Soon it was almost everywhere my father
showed up, members of the Black Legion referred to him as “outrageous
Niggers' berated for opening his own shop
wanted, lived outside the black district of Lansing and
Spreading unrest and discord among the "good niggers."

As in Omaha, my mother was pregnant again here too,

this time with my youngest sister. Shortly after Yvonnes
Birth came on the nightmare night of 1929, my earliest
Memory. I still remember exactly that I suddenly got out of the
Sleep was torn and me in a terrifying way
Mess of pistol shots, yelling, smoke and
Found flames. My father had screamed and on that
shot two white men who had started the fire and
now ran away. Our house was on fire. We all
bumped, stumbled and fell on top of each other trying to
to escape from it. My mother made it in with the baby
the poor just in the yard before the house
collapsed sparkling. I remember that
we spend the night outside in our underwear
we had to cry and scream our hearts out.
The white policemen and firefighters came and stood around
and watched the house go down to the ground
burned down.
My father got some friends to bring us clothes too
take care of them and take them in temporarily. Then he pulled
with us in another house on the outskirts of East Lansing. Back then
Blacks were not allowed in after dark
actual East Lansing stop. Michigan State
University is located there; I told all of this to one
Student audience when I spoke there in January 1963 (and I
had the first reunion with mine in a long time
younger brother Robert, who went there after graduating from college
conducted psychological studies). I told them people
in East Lansing bullied us so much that we did it again
had to move, this time to the country two miles from the
City away. There my father built us with his own
Hands a house with four rooms. Only here, in this house, in
I grew up using my memory properly.
I remember my father summoned after the fire
and was interrogated because of a gun license for the pistol
who shot the white arsonists. I know
nor that the police kept coming by unexpectedly
and rummaged through our things "just to have a look"
or "to look for a gun". The gun she's after
sought - which they never found and for which they never found one
Had issued a gun license - was sewn into a pillow.
My father's small bore rifle and his shotgun
however, lying around openly. Everyone had such weapons in order
hunt birds, rabbits and other game with it.
After that, my memories are from the tension
determined between my father and my mother. you
almost always seemed to be at odds with each other. Sometimes
my father beat my mother. Maybe it had something to do with it
to do that she was very educated. I don't know where they are
Had acquired education. But I suspect an educated woman
struggling to resist the temptation to find one
rebuke uneducated man. From time to time when they do
came to him with her clever words, he grabbed her.
My father was aggressive towards all of his children too,
just not against me. He beat the elderly almost brutally when they did
violated any of his rules - and he had so many
Rules that it was hard to know them all. I related almost all of them
Beatings from my mother. I've thought a lot about
why that was so. I actually think so anti-white mine
Father was too, unconscious of the brainwashing of the
white man so spoiled by black that he to it
tended to prefer the fairer skinned - and I was his
lightest-skinned child. Most black parents treated
Back then, almost instinctively, lighter children were better than darker ones. The
it emerged directly from the tradition of slavery that the mulatto,
because he was visibly closer to the white man, therefore also "better"
must be.
My other two mental images of my father
neither affected our home. One was his role as
a Baptist preacher. E £, never preached in a real one
own church; he was always a "guest preacher." I remember
I particularly like his favorite sermon: "Get ready,
the little black train is on its way…! ”I suppose that
also agreed with his relationship to back-to-back
Africa Movement, to the Black Train Homeward Marcus
Garveys. My brother Philbert, the next elder, loved them
Church, but it confused and astonished me. I sat gawking
there and watched my father jumping around while he was preaching and
shouted and like the congregation who devoted body and soul to the
Singing and praying had given him while hopping and
Screaming followed.Even at that early age, I could just do it
not the Christian conception of the divine nature of Jesus
believe. And until I was a man in my twenties - and
Back then in prison - I refrained from religious beliefs
Tell people. In front of most people, I had theirs
Displayed religiosity, very little respect. The majority
My father had contact with the black people in Lansing
his activity as a preacher. Believe me that this
Blacks were in bad shape at the time. you are
still in bad shape - but on a different one
Wise. I mean that I don't have a city with a higher one
Share of complacent and misguided so-called
Middle-class blacks know, of the typical sort, that themselves
oriented towards status symbols and strives for integration. In front
recently, for example, I stood in a corridor in the
United Nations building and talked to one
African ambassador and his wife, as a black man
came up to me and said to me: "Don't we know each other?" I
was a little embarrassed because i thought he was someone den
I should know. It turned out to be one of those
self-satisfied middle-class blacks who like to act out
was from Lansing. I wasn't flattered. He was from
the kind that never wanted anything to do with Africa until
the fashion of having African friends for the blacks
Middle class became a status symbol.
By the time I was growing up, the "successful"
Blacks in Lansing such professions as waiters and
Shoe shine. As a doorman in a commercial building in the
Downtown was highly regarded. The real one
"Elite," the "big animals," the "speakers of the race" were those
Waiters at the Country Club in Lansing and the shoeshine boys in
Government building. The only blacks who really have money
were in the illegal lottery business, the gambling dens
entertained or those who are parasitic in a different way by the
Mass of the poorest lived. No black person was from then
Lansing's large Oldsmobile factory or the Reo factory
set. (Does anyone remember the Reo? It was in
Lansing established and R. E. Olds, the man after whom he
was named, also lived in Lansing. When the war came
they hired a few blacks as caretakers.) The majority
the black lived either from the state welfare, from
Emergency program of the W.P.A. (Works Progress
Administration), or they starved to death.
The day would come when our family was so poor
that we ate the holes in the cheese. But at that time
We were much better off than most black people in town.
The reason was that we were out in the country where we were
lived, grew much of our food ourselves. It went
us a lot better than the blacks in town who are with the
My father's sermons after the cake in heaven and theirs
Bliss in the afterlife screamed while the whites their paradise
had here on earth.
It was clear to me that we were mainly from the collection, the
my father received, fed and clothed for his sermons.
He also did various odd jobs, but what
I was completely proud of his crusade and
his militant campaign for the teaching of Marcus Garvey. So young
I was then too, so I understood through what I was
caught my father saying something that made him one
"Dangerous" man made. I remember an old one
Lady who said triumphantly to my father: “You are hunting this one
White fear of death! "
One of the reasons I always felt mine
Father prefer me was that as far as I know I was the only one
He was sometimes present at Garvey’s U.N.I.A.
which he quietly took with him in the apartments of various people
Stopped people. More than a few people never met there -
twenty at most. But huddled in any one
Living room that was a lot. I noticed how
they all behaved differently, although sometimes the same people
jumping and screaming in the church. But on this one
Congregations were not only them but my father as well
more focused, sensible and sober. That carried over
also on me.
I remember sentences like: “Adam came out of Paradise
driven into the caves of Europe "," Africa for the Africans ",
"Ethiopians, wake up!" And my father talked about it
it would not be long before Africa was completely removed from
Being led by blacks - "by black people" was that
Expression he always used. “Nobody knows when they will
The hour of redemption for Africa strikes. Only the wind knows them. you
comes. One day it will be there like a storm. "
I remember the large, glossy photographs from
Marcus Garvey making the rounds from hand to hand. My
Father had a large envelope full of such photos
that he always took to these meetings. The photos
showed, at least it seemed so to me, millions of blacks who were dense
paraded huddled behind Garvey. He drove in an elegant
Dare to be a tall black man who is an impressive one
Wore uniform with golden braids and a gorgeous hat
with a long plume. I heard that he wasn't just in that
United States, but supporters around the world under
had the black one. And I remember that
Meetings always ended with my father several times
exclaimed: "Come on, you mighty race, you can do what in
your will! ”and the people followed suit.
I never understood why I did so much of these
Had never heard of things back then to the black people in
Africa thought. My idea of ​​Africa at the time
was that of naked savages, cannibals, monkeys, and tigers
steaming jungles.
My father drove to in his old black touring car
Meeting places all over Lansing and
took me along sometimes. I remember meeting that
during the day (most were in the evening) in the town of Owosso
took place. Forty miles from Lansing it was and was
Called the "White City" by the blacks. (Owosso's largest
Claim to notoriety is the place of birth of
Thomas E. Dewey.) As in East Lansing was allowed to go to
When it got dark, there was no longer any black person on the street
hold up - so the meeting had to take place during the day.
In fact, it was like that in many cities in Michigan at the time. Everyone
Place had a few "native negroes" who lived there.
Sometimes it was just one family, like that
nearby county town of Mason where a black family
called Lyons lived. Mr. Lyons was well respected in
Mason because he was once a well known football star at Mason
High school, so now he was allowed to go to this one
Do a few servant jobs in the area.
My mother seemed to be working all the time during this time - to
cook, wash, iron, clean and get over it
upset us eight children. And usually she argued either
with my father or didn't talk to him. A cause for argument
were her fixed ideas about what she didn't want to eat
- and what we shouldn't eat - including pork and
Rabbits. My father loved both with all his heart. He
was a real black guy from Georgia and through and through
believed that one should eat a lot of what we in
Call Harlem "soulfood" today.
As I said, my mother was the one from
I got my beating - at least whenever it was her
didn't mind the neighbors might think they were me
kill. Because if she even made it appear hers
Raising hand against me, I opened my mouth and let go
know the world. If anyone is out on the street
came by, she either changed her mind or gave it to me
just a few strokes.
When I think about it today, I'm stuck with it
convinced that to the extent that my father preferred me,
because I was fairer-skinned than the other children, mine myself
Mother treated more severely for the same reason. She was herself
very bright, but she preferred those that were darker. I
knows that Wilfred was her particular favorite. I remember,
that she sent me out of the house with the words: “Go out
in the sun so you can get some color. ”She tried
consequently, in me no feeling of superiority because of mine
Let skin color come up. I am sure they will take me to
Partly so treated because they are the origin of their own
light skin color knew.
I learned early on that you can achieve something by shouting protest
could. My older siblings were already going to school, and
when they came in sometimes and after a shortbread biscuit
or something like that, my mother said angrily no. But I
whined loudly and made a fuss until I
got what i wanted. I can well remember that
my mom asked me why i wasn't such a nice boy
how Wilfred could be; but I figured that Wilfred often
Had to stay hungry because he was so nice and calm. So I had
learned early in life that if you had to make a row
want something.
Not only did we have our large garden, we also grew
Chicken. My father bought some little chicks, and mine
Mother raised her. We all loved chicken. That was a
Court that there was no dispute with my father. For one
Thing I remember is me special to my mother
grateful. One day I went to her and asked her for one of my own
Garden, and she gave me my own little corner. I loved