Book Name in English : Why I Am Not An AmericanFrom his travels in Africa and Asia in the early 1960s to his assassination in 1965, Malcolm X’s struggle against American apartheid took on an increasingly international dimension. With the issue of American racism treated only in the context of civil rights, Malcolm could be seen as a militant counterbalance to Martin Luther King’s pacifist approach and in both case their appeals were at the mercy of the American government, which had not made good on its promises of equal rights for African Americans. In the speech presented here, which was given at the University of Ghana in 1964, Malcolm is the ‘child of Africa’ who has returned, and his return brings a multiple message of solidarity in the cause of liberation, a warming for African nations to avoid slipping under the spell of American “dollarism,’ and a request for support in his effort to bring the United States before the UN on the charges of human rights abuses. This edition of his speech concludes with a letter he wrote to home from Cairo, also in 1964, where he formally re-iterates his request to African statesmen. One of the most startling aspects of this speech is Malcolm’s statement, “I’m from America but I’m not an American.” As a descent of slaves and a son of parents persecuted by white supremacist, Malcolm’s politics had a rough personal edge to them. He minced no words, unlike his compatriots in the civil rights movement. His anger was palatable and it was effective. Of course, there was a lot to be angry about. America was built on land stolen from Indians and America was built on labor stolen from Africa. That dual theft of land and labor very quickly made America the richest country in the world. But the riches were not shared, and one hundred years after the abolition of slavery in America, African Americans were still treated as colonized peoples, officially euphemized as “second-class citizen.” These two selections, also demonstrate his uncanny ability to frame the issues in ways that still ring true today, and so it is easy to see from this work, in light of America’s ongoing aggression in the third world, that forty years later Malcolm would still not want to be an American.
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