Malcolm X’s Visit To Nigeria In 1959 And 1964

Malcolm X at the University of Ibadan, 1964
Malcolm X at the University of Ibadan, 1964

Malcolm X, originally born Malcolm Little, was a notorious African-American hooligan who later became a world known human right activist and Islamic leader.

Malcolm X visited Nigeria on two occasions, one in 1959 and the other in 1964. His first visit to Nigeria in 1959 was to arrange a tour for Elijah Muhammad, the leader of ‘Nation of Islam‘, a black Muslim organization in America. Malcolm X’s second visit to Nigeria was in 1964. During this visit, he rendered a beautiful and brilliant speech at the Trenchard Hall in University of Ibadan. Also, at a reception held at the Students’ Union hall for Malcolm X by the Muslim Students’ Society, the Yoruba name Omowale which literally means ‘the child has come home’ was bestowed upon him. At a press conference Malcolm addressed when he arrived in New York, he said the reception given to him by students in Nigeria was one of the highest honours he had ever received in his life.

Malcolm X in Nigeria
Malcolm X at a reception held in Nigeria, 1964 | NPP

Malcolm X was very happy and proud of the black race throughout his stay in Nigeria. In a letter he wrote after leaving Lagos for Accra, he said, “I arrived in Accra yesterday from Lagos, Nigeria. The natural beauty and wealth of Nigeria and its people are indescribable. It is full of Americans and other whites who are well aware of its untapped natural resources. The same whites, who spit in the faces of blacks in America and sic their police dogs upon us to keep us from “integrating” with them, are seen throughout Africa, bowing, grinning and smiling in an effort to “integrate” with the Africans — they want to “integrate” into Africa’s wealth and beauty. This is ironical.” He furthered “I spoke at Ibadan University in Nigeria, Friday night, and gave the true picture of our plight in America, and of the necessity of the independent African nations helping us bring our case before the United Nations. The reception of the students was tremendous. They made me an honorary member of the “Muslim Students Society of Nigeria,” and renamed me “Omowale,” which means “the child has come home” in the Yoruba language.

 

The letter was culled from- http://www.malcolm-x.org

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