Every Black history month, I try to watch at least one speech or interview with a prominent member of the civil rights movement. The tradition helps remind me of the fantastic progress Black Americans have achieved since the 1960s. I try to steer clear of the old hat favorites like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X because they're usually covered ad nauseam during February. However, I'm returning to Malcolm X's interview at Berkeley this year.
When I was younger, Malcolm X was my absolute favorite Black activist. Now that I've encountered the thoughts and speeches of James Baldwin and Angela Davis, I can safely say that Malcolm X has more competition than he did in the halcyon days of my youth. Even so, I'm still enamored by Malcolm's unflappable demeanor and intellect. Part of what I find so enduring about Malcolm's legacy is how vastly divergent the last years of his life were compared to his "heyday." Listening to Malcolm in his comparatively younger years and measuring his words and disposition against the unifying undertones that festoon his later thoughts will always be compelling in my mind. It stands as a testament to how tragically young he was at the time of his assassination. I can only imagine how much unity he could've inspired had he been allowed to reach his golden years.
Check out Malcolm's interview at Berkeley—conducted two years before his brutal assassination—in the video linked above.