56 years ago what did the GR Press report on Malcolm X’s suspension from the Nation of Islam over comments on President Kennedy’s death?

Fifty six year ago, Malcolm X made comments about President Kennedy’s assassination, comments which got him suspended by Elijah Mohammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam.

Here on the right, you can read what the Grand Rapids Press ran, which was a brief article that was from the Associated Press. The AP story quotes part of what Malcolm X said in regards to the assassination of President Kennedy, specifically the comment about “chickens coming home to roost.”

However, what Malcolm X said included a whole lot more commentary. Unfortunately, there is no full record of what Malcolm X said on December 1st, 1963, in regards to the assassination of Kennedy. We only have bits and pieces of the talk he gave at the Manhattan Center. Here is part of what Malcolm X said that day, as is sourced in Manning Marable’s book, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention.

“God’s Judgment of White America” began with a sophisticated argument about political economies. “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us . . . it was the evil of slavery that caused the downfall and destruction of ancient Egypt and Babylon, and of ancient Greece, as well as ancient Rome,” Malcolm told his audience. In similar fashion, colonialism contributed to “the collapse of the white nations in present-day Europe as world powers.” The exploitation of African Americans will, in turn, “bring white America to her hour of judgment, to her downfall as a respected nation.” Malcolm’s core argument was that America, like the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome, was in moral decline. The greatest example of its moral bankruptcy, Malcolm argued, was its hypocrisy. “White America pretends to ask herself, ‘What do these Negroes want?’ White America knows that four hundred years of cruel bondage has made these twenty-two million ex-slaves too (mentally) [Malcolm’s parentheses] blind to see what they really want.”

Therefore, the larger context of “chicken’s coming home to roost,” had to do with White America and the hate that the US government had created around the world and at home.

Eventually, Malcolm X broke his silence. In the video here, a reporter asks Malcolm X about what he said and how it has been interpreted by the news media.


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