A certain incident transpired that caused me to reminisce of the words of the late great John Henrik Clarke, one of the greatest warriors our people has yet seen. In his remarks he made only made a brief allusion. This allusion pertained to Malcolm X and the astounding power of his leadership. Malcolm X had a charisma and demeanor that had not yet been seen amongst our people since their arrival in the New World. His assertiveness, his eloquence, and his wisdom were those that can only be bestowed by holy powers. His stature (both physical and spiritual) was great. Malcolm X had the charisma, fortitude, and power that could match the greatness of the Pharaohs. Essentially, Dr. Clarke mentioned our people's inability to realize the signifiance of the impetus that motivates and sustains, not just the leader, but themselves. We attached our passion and devotion and reasons for our commitment to our racial cause to Malcolm X rather than to the essential principles and ideas he promulgated and sought to implement in our community. Dr. Clarke streesed that it must be understood that for our causes to truly endure, to bequeath longevity upon those causes, we must be able to turn to the next page and continue the struggle long after certain divine representatives and officials have departed us. Malcolm X was one of the greatest representatives in the history of our people but it is what he represented that remains essential and most imperative.
It must be understood that it may not be a death that is responsible for the loss of a cohort with whom we share this common cause. Furthermore, it must be understood that it may not be a particular leader to whom we assign our meaning for partaking in and immersing our souls in the movement. It may be an individual to whom we assign personal significance. No matter what the degree of this significance may be and no matter what the reason may be for the loss of or disconnection from this individual we must remain fixated on the principles and philosophies of the movement. We are slaves to fate, and none else. Fate bestows these leaders and individuals upon us so that we may be enlightened of the plight and struggles of our people and so that we can learn of the truth that will lead us to emerge from this decadence. Whatever passion we may vest in certain individuals essentially belongs to the movement, whether or not the epiphany has found us.
To a particular individual, I wrote:
"The movement is not about any individual. It is not about an alleged personal connection that never existed. It’s a cosmopolitan, universal idea and belief. It’s something that each devotee should carry with them and their conviction in that belief should be strong enough that it not be, not even in the least bit, partly influenced by its connection with any individual. Lest that connection with an individual be severed one’s conviction should endure wholeheartedly, without being subjected to enervation.
You know enough about our seemingly eternal predicament to have awareness of the selflessness that is required for this movement. You are cognizant of what is right and what is wrong. You know what will benefit and what will destroy our people. It is your decision as to which path you will take---because there are only two paths."
This applies to all those of our movement as well as those who contemplate mustering what courage this maganimous endeavor requires.
"History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day…it is also a compass that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography. History tells a people where they have been and what they have been, where they are and what they are. Most important, history tells a people where they still must go…what they still must be. The relationship of history to the people is the same as the relationship of a mother to her child."
-Dr. John Henrik Clarke