Remembrances — Sunday, February 21st
On this date 56 years ago – Sunday, February 21, 1965 – Malcolm X was assassinated in Harlem in New York City. My father was a member of Malcolm’s Organization of Afro-American Unity and regularly attended his Sunday afternoon rallies. My father was at the Audubon Ballroom when Malcolm was shot and killed and often spoke about the real-life nightmare and tragedy which occurred that day.
Malcolm X was an independent Black leader. Rarely is he portrayed this way by most people who praise him today. During his lifetime, he was very controversial and frightened people by how he called out the Democratic Party for their inability or unwillingness to stop the violent suppression of the civil rights movement during the 1960s – despite controlling the presidency, the House and the Senate. Malcolm excoriated the Democratic Party and the Republican Party for the horrendous conditions of racism and poverty suffered by Black people in America.
When Dr. Lenora Fulani made history by becoming the first woman and the first African-American to get on the ballot in all 50 states for president in 1988, my father and I proudly voted for her in the general election that year. Like Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer and other powerful leaders of the 1950s and 1960s, Dr. Fulani is an independent Black leader. My father from South Carolina was an independent. My mother from Alabama was an independent. I proudly follow in their footsteps as an independent.
The horrendous conditions faced by Black people 50 and 60 years ago still exist today by all of those suffering with racism and poverty. Many of us who are independents are committed to creating new political environments where we can finally engage and change these conditions instead of becoming political party partisans who enthusiastically divide people for the sole purpose of winning elections.
Thank you to Dr. Omar Ali for his excellent book which highlights the many principled people who have dedicated their lives to dismantling our toxic politics and creating a new America of democracy, liberty and justice for all.
David Cherry, Chicago, Illinois, is the City Leader of the All Stars Project of Chicago. For more than 25 years, Cherry, a seasoned community organizer and activist, has helped diverse communities develop around issues of democracy, social justice and inclusion. He is the founder of United Independents of Illinois and serves on Independent Voting’s Board of Directors.
In the Balance of Power:
Independent Black Politics and
Third-Party Movements in the United States
By Omar H. Ali
Video of our Feb 21st Zoom conversation with Dr. Omar Ali will be available soon.