Who was Malcolm X?
Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925, was a world-renowned African-American human right activist and Islamic leader who tirelessly fought for the liberation of Black Americans.
His charisma and oratory skills helped him achieve national prominence in the Nation of Islam, a belief system that merged Islam with Black nationalism. He later changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.
Malcolm X in Nigeria
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, University of Ibadan. Malcolm X was given a Yoruba name ‘Omowale‘ (which literally means ‘the child has come home’) by the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) at a reception held at the Students’ Union hall.
At a press conference in New York, Malcolm X testified that the reception given to him by students in Nigeria was one of the highest honours he received in his life.
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.“www.malcolm-x.org
Thanks for reading, OldNaija.com
- Jacobs. Sean (2009). When Malcolm X went to Africa. Africa Is A Country.
- Malcolm X: American Muslim leader. Britannica
- Malcolm X: Early Life. History.com
If you find this worth reading, kindly share on social media and drop a comment below. Thanks.