AFRICANGLOBE – Hundreds commemorated the 90th birthday of assassinated Black Rights leader Malcolm X in New York on Tuesday.
His daughters Ilyasah, Malaak and Gamilah Shabazz were among those who attended the ceremony at the Shabazz Center, formerly known as the Audubon Ballroom, where the activist was murdered in 1965.
A blue light shone onto the exact spot where he was gunned down while delivering a lecture.
The commemoration started with a moment of silence before a crowd of more than 250 people sang Lift Every Voice and Sing, often referred to as the Black American National Anthem.
Malcolm X was a “man who continually evolved, who continually transformed himself,” Ilyasah Shabazz said.
She said she hoped younger generations would understand through his legacy that “Black lives matter” – a reference to the recent rallying cry of protesters seeking justice for the victims of police violence in the U.S.
Initially a prominent figure in Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam movement, Malcolm X broke away from the group in 1964 and embraced Sunni Islam, adopting the name el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz.
Renouncing the separatist ideology of the Nation of Islam, he attempted to internationalize the plight of African-Americans and make common cause with the oppressed people of the world.
He was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on Feb. 21, 1965. Three members of the Nation of Islam were convicted of the murder.
His life story, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, is considered one of the most influential non-fiction works of the 20th century.