Malcolm X in Ghana

  • SumoMe

“I don’t feel that I am a visitor in Ghana or in any part of Africa. I feel that I am at home.”
(Malcolm X at University of Ghana, Legon. May 13, 1964)

February 21st  marks the anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination. On this day, 47 years ago, the fiercest voice of Black dignity was muted, but his ideas have continued to snatch “the mattresses from beneath our slumbering selves” and illuminate us – for he was and is “our own black shining prince”.

Reading his autobiography, I gladly found out that Malcolm X visited my homeland Ghana during his African trips and I felt a sense of pride because he deemed Ghana as “one of the most progressive nations on the African continent primarily because it has one of the most progressive leaders and most progressive presidents”.

On this day, remembering one of my most inspirational people, I’d like to share with you some “Ghanaian” passages from The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

 

«…I flew on to Accra, Ghana. I think that nowhere is the black continent’s wealth and the natural beauty of its people richer than in Ghana, which is so proudly the very fountainhead of Pan-Africanism. […]

I simply couldn’t believe this kind of reception five thousand miles from America! The officials of the press had even arranged to pay my hotel expenses, and they would hear no objection that I made. They included T. D. Baffoe, the Editor-in-Chief of the Ghanaian Times; G. T. Anim, the Managing Director of the Ghana News Agency; Kofi Batsa, the Editor of Spark and the Secretary-General of the Pan-African Union of Journalists; and Mr. Cameron Duodu; and others. I could only thank them all.

Then, during the beautiful dinner which had been prepared by Julian Mayfield’s pretty Puerto Rican wife, Ana Livia (she was in charge of Accra’s district health program), I was plied with questions by the eagerly interested black expatriates from America who had returned to Mother Africa.
     I can only wish that every American black man could have shared my ears, my eyes, and my emotions throughout the round of engagements which had been made for me in Ghana.[…]

Then an invitation came to me which exceeded my wildest dream. I would never have imagined that I would actually have an opportunity to address the members of the Ghanaian Parliament!
I made my remarks brief but I made them strong: “How can you condemn Portugal and South Africa while our black people in America are being bitten by dogs and beaten with clubs?” I said I felt certain that the only reason black Africans, our black brothers, could be so silent about what happened in America was that they had been misinformed by the American government’s propaganda agencies.
At the end of my talk, I heard “Yes! We support the Afro-American . . . morally, physically, materially if necessary!”

Malcolm X & Maya Angelou, Ghana 1964

In Ghana, or in all of black Africa, my highest single honor was an audience at the Castle with Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

Before seeing him, I was searched most thoroughly. I respected the type of security the Ghanaians erect around their leader. It gave me that much more respect for independent black men. Then, as I entered Dr. Nkrumah’s long office, he came out from behind his desk at the far end. Dr. Nkrumah wore ordinary dress, his hand was extended and a smile was on his sensitive face. I pumped his hand. We sat on a couch and talked. I knew that he was particularly well-informed on the Afro-American’s plight, as for years he had lived and studied in America. We discussed the unity of Africans and peoples of African descent. We agreed that Pan-Africanism was the key also to the problems of those of African heritage. I could feel the warm, likeable and very down-to-earth qualities of Dr. Nkrumah. My time with him was up all too soon. I promised faithfully that when I returned to the United States, I would relay to Afro-Americans his personal warm regards.[…]

The “Malcolm X Committee” rushed me from the Chinese Embassy dinner to where a soiree in my honor had already begun at the Press Club. It was my first sight of Ghanaians dancing the high-life. A high and merry time was being had by everyone, and I was pressed to make a short speech. I stressed again the need for unity between Africans and Afro-Americans. I cried out of my heart, “Now, dance! Sing! But as you do — remember Mandela, remember Sobokwe! Remember Lumumba in his grave! Remember South Africans now in jail!”
I said, “You wonder why I don’t dance? Because I want you to remember twenty-two million Afro-Americans in the U.S.!”
But I sure felt like dancing! The Ghanaians performed the high-life as if possessed

 

Posted by: Theophilus

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