Omaha Public Radio News
10:53 pm
Sun May 18, 2008

Omaha celebrates the life of Malcolm X

Omaha, NE – Monday would have been the 83rd birthday of civil rights leader Malcolm X.

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little May 19, 1925 in Omaha. He was 39 years old when he was assassinated in 1965 during a speech in New York City. Saturday, Omaha's Malcolm X Foundation hosted a celebration of his life.

Sharif Liwaru, President of the Malcolm X Foundation, says more needs to be done to teach Omahans about Malcolm X's life and beliefs. He says more schools are beginning to teach about Malcolm X during Nebraska history lessons, but many Omahans don't know Malcolm X was born here.

Malcolm X joined the Nation of Islam in the late 1940s. He preached about issues such as black identity and independence. He left the Nation of Islam in 1964 but continued to speak about civil rights until his death.

Saturday's celebration also featured exhibits from the Black History 101 Mobile Museum. That Museum was founded by a Detroit Public Schools teacher, Khalid El-Hakim, and features more than 1,500 items about black culture. The Museum includes magazine articles about and photographs of Malcolm X, as well as an album of a 1964 speech called Ballots or Bullets.

Omaha's Malcolm X Foundation is currently working on a Green Space project at the civil rights leader's birth site. The first phase of that project is expected to be complete next month.