Saturday, February 21, 2015

Malcolm X at Brooklyn College

There was a buzz around the campus of Brooklyn College. I can't remember if it was 1963 or 1964. Malcolm X was coming to speak. Brooklyn College had the largest Jewish student body in the world - some say 90% - thus one would expect his reception would be good. There was a buzz about his record of militant inflammatory speeches - and some concerns about anti-semitism.

The standing room only crowd in the largest venue on campus was wary, expecting an angry, militant laden speech. But from his first words he was full of charm and humor and logic and made so much sense. He won over the crowd in an instant. I was not a political being but seeing him speak in person was an unforgettable experience.

I became a fan and his message resonated.
His assassination probably affected me more than that of Martin Luther King.

Here is a link to speeches.


  1. I remember that appearance, but as I recall it was in 1963. He spoke at Whitman Auditorium. You are quite right in your reminiscence that Malcolm was full of logic and "made so much sense." His appearance was preceded by expectations buzzing around campus that an African American activist who "hated white people" and was preaching violence was coming to speak. Instead a scholarly chap of calm demeanor appeared and thwarted these stereotypes. It was a concrete example of how public figures serve as Rorschach tests upon whom are projected stereotypical attitudes and imagery.

    1. Glad you can share. It changed my attitude. I wonder if we ever ran into each other in classes. I was a history major and in tau delta phi frat. Graduated in 66 and then was in masters program for a few years.


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