Tag Archives: Medgar Evers

Malcolm X Publicly Addresses Jackie Robinson

November 30, 1963
Dear Good Friend, Jackie Roosevelt Robinson:

You became a great baseball player after your White Boss (Mr. Rickey) lifted you to the Major Leagues. You proved that your White Boss had chosen the “right” Negro by getting plenty of hits, stealing plenty of bases, winning many games and bringing much money through the gates and into the pockets of your White Boss.

In those days I was one of your many ardent fans; your speed and shifty base running used to hold me spellbound . . . and, according to the attack you leveled against me and Congressman Powell in your recent column, I must confess that even today you still display the same old “speed,” the same “cunning,” and “shiftiness” . . . and you are still trying to win “The Big Game” for your White Boss.

Shortly after the White Man lifted you from poverty and obscurity to the Major Leagues, Paul Robeson was condemning America for her injustices against American Negroes. Mr. Robeson questioned the intelligence of Negroes fighting to defend a country that treated them with such open contempt and bestial brutality.

Robeson’s Stand
Robeson’s brilliant stand in behalf of our people left the guilty American whites speechless: they had no defense.

They sought desperately to find another Negro who would be dumb enough to champion their bankrupt “white” cause against Paul Robeson.

It was you who let yourself be used by the whites even in those days against your own kind. You let them sic you on Paul Robeson.

You let them use you to destroy Paul Robeson. You let your White Boss send you before a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. (the capitol of Segregationville) to dispute and condemn Paul Robeson, because he had these guilty American whites frightened silly.

Your White Boss sent you to Washington to assure all the worried white folks that Negroes were still thankful to the Great White Father for bringing us to America, that Negroes were grateful to America (despite our not being treated as full citizens), and that Negroes would still lay down our lives to defend this white country (though this same white government wasn’t ready nor willing to defend Negroes) . . . even in those days, Jackie!

Jackie’s Column
In this same recent column you also accused me and Dr. Powell of misleading our people. Aren’t you the same ex­baseball player who tried to “MISLEAD” Negroes into Nixon’s camp during the last presidential election?

Evidently you were the only Negro who voted for Nixon, because according to the polls taken afterward, very few Negroes were dumb enough to follow your “MISLEAD.”

Today you confess to our people that you now think Nixon would have been the wrong man. Aren’t you also confessing that if Negroes had been dumb enough to follow you three years ago that you would have been guilty of MISLEADING them?

Rocke­fel­ler
You never gave up. You are now trying to lead Negroes into Nelson Rockefeller’s political camp. If you admit that you were wrong about Richard Nixon three years ago, how are we to be sure that you’ve become so politically mature in the meantime to be right in your choice today? Your “shiftiness” is confusing and very misleading.

We hear that you are about to be appointed Boxing Commissioner of New York State by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Does this have any bearing on your efforts to get Negroes into Rockefeller’s camp? Just who are you playing ball for today, good Friend?

Our people followed you on the football field and the baseball field, but we are cautious and doubtful about your shifty position in this political field.

When Mr. Rickey picked you up from obscurity and made you a Big Leaguer, you never let Mr. Rickey down; and since Mr. Black has given you a well­paying position with Chock-Full-O-Nuts, you have never let Mr. Black down . . . and now with Mr. Rockefeller promising to make you the Boxing Commissioner of New York State, we know that you can’t afford to let Ole Rocky down.

You have never shown appreciation for the support given you by the Negro masses, but you have a record of being very faithful to your White Benefactors. Perhaps, if Nixon had not been such a relatively poorer man, he too would have fared much better with your support.

Your column also accused me of attacking Dr. Ralph Bunche. This is untrue. I have never attacked Ralph Bunche. No Muslim ever initiates an attack on anyone. Dr. Bunche had attacked the Muslims in general and me in particular from a college campus in the state of Mississippi, and his venomous poison was carried by all the major networks. My reply to Dr. Bunche’s unwarranted attack was made strictly in self­defense (as is this present letter an answer to your unjust attack).

If Dr. Bunche’s UN position is supposed to confine him to matters “above and beyond” America’s race problems, whenever he does escape the confines of UN protocol, why does he always attack our Muslim religious group? This is the third time he has attacked our religion. Is he anti­Islam?

Mississippi
Since he was in Mississippi while making his recent speech, he would have shown more intelligence had he directed his full attention toward the whites in that area who are bombing Negro churches and murdering innocent little Negro girls.

Why waste precious time and energy on us? Muslims don’t bomb churches. Muslims don’t shoot Medgar Evers in the back. Muslims have never lynched anyone.

Dr. Bunche should realize he can’t fight an effective battle on two different fronts at the same time. He can’t fight the Muslims and at the same time be effective against the lynchers of Negroes.

But Dr. Bunche seems more anxious to discredit and destroy the Muslim religious group than he does the white lynchers of Negroes. Whenever I read the speeches he makes for American consumption, I often wonder if his scriptwriter isn’t some anti-Muslim Israeli?

You also quoted the comedian, Dick Gregory, whose scriptwriter has him saying that most Negroes never knew the Muslims existed until the white man put the Muslims on television. I must confess that this is part­true.

The Muslims have been in the Negro Community for a long time, but Negroes such as yourself, who regard yourselves as Negro “leaders,” never know what is going on in the Negro Community until the white man tells you.

You stay as far away from the Negro Community as you can get, and you never take an interest in anything in the Negro Community until the white man himself takes an interest in it. You, yourself would never shake my hand until you saw some of your white friends shaking it.

Negro “leaders” never knew Muslims existed until the white man discovered them, and right today most of these same Negro “leaders” know about Muslims only what the white man has told them.

Medgar Evers
Finally, good Friend Jackie: you attacked me for not attending the funeral of Medgar Evers, who was murdered in Mississippi. When I go to a Mississippi funeral it won’t be to attend the funeral of a black man!

And you Negro “leaders,” whose bread and butter depend on your ability to make your white boss think you have all these Negroes “under control,” better be thankful that I wasn’t in Mississippi after Medgar Evers was murdered, nor in Birmingham after the murder of those four innocent little Negro girls.

If my integrity or sincerity is to be measured in your eyesight by my attendance at funerals of Negroes who have been murdered by whites, if you should ever meet with such misfortune I promise to attend your funeral, and then perhaps you will be able to see me in a different light?

If you should ever become as militant in behalf of our oppressed people as Medgar Evers was, the same whites whom you now take to be your friends will be the first to put the bullet or the dagger in your back, just as they put it in the back of Medgar Evers . . .

And I sincerely fear, good Friend Jackie, that if the whites do murder you, you are still gullible enough to die thinking they are still your white friends, and that the dagger in your back is only an accident!

Whereas if whites were to murder me for the religious philosophy that I represent and stand for, I would die KNOWING that it was at the hands of OPEN ENEMIES OF TRUTH AND JUSTICE!

 

Letter Published in the Amsterdam News

Why it is Imperative that African-Americans View James Baldwin’s “I Am Not Your Negro”

I remember the rather sharp exchange with one of my student’s as if it occurred yesterday. We had gotten into an intellectual altercation regarding what exactly made one BLACK. Her assertion was that there were a million ways to be BLACK, so it was, therefore, impossible to either validate or invalidate an individual’s blackness. I vehemently disagreed with her assertion.

A crucial aspect of my position revolved around the fact that if blackness was not biologically based, it must, therefore, be a politically useful social construct found in the minds, worldview, political perspectives and priorities. Put simply; I fervently believe that Race was created to provide whites an opportunity to efficiently cast aside non-whites as they moved to monopolize and then maintain those monopolies over every resource imaginable. I argued that since blackness is a state of mind that grows out of 400 years of experience on the North American continent, there must be something beyond the oppression that we have received at the hands of whites that glues my people together. From my perspective, I believe that the “something beyond the oppression that we have received at the hands of whites” is the intellectual tradition and worldview that we have developed as a result of our collective struggle against American racism. Considering such realities, I call into question not only this particular student’s blackness, but also all African-Americans blackness if they have never studied our great intellectuals who have dedicated their lives to examining, deconstructing, and then destroying socially constructed racial paradigms.

For my money, the leading social critic that Black America has ever created is our dear brother James Baldwin. Considering that I was desperately seeking to end the conflict mentioned above with this particular student, I went for the knockout blow by informing her that “If you haven’t read Baldwin, you are not only unqualified to discuss American race relations, but also unworthy of being considered an educated black person.” Although many may find such a broad statement unfair, it nonetheless reflects my perspective on the poignant writings and social commentary that James Baldwin delivered to an undeserving world.

Much of my intellectual life has been spent lamenting the woes of people whose uninformed perspectives regarding American racial matters would disappear “If only they would read Baldwin.”

So I am confident that you understand my exuberance at hearing Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck had taken on the task of fleshing out an aborted Baldwin project titled “Remember This House.” A house that Baldwin famously stated was burning and therefore Negroes should not seek to integrate into it. Peck’s vision of this project is now in American theaters as the documentary “I am not your Negro.”

Baldwin only wrote thirty pages on a project that was to be his personal account of the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and what it revealed about the nation. Raoul Peck has not only succeeded in bringing “Remember This House” relatively brief sketch to the big screen but also delivered Baldwin’s genius to a new generation of Americans.

One of my consistent critiques of contemporary activists and so-called black leaders is their laziness in regards to engaging the writings of intellectual giants such as W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, Marcus Garvey, and Huey P. Newton. Unfortunately, it appears that the unprecedented accessibility of information attributable to the internet, the majority of it not being well-researched, has caused an incurable laziness among the heirs to a rich African-American historical and activist legacy. However, recent experience has taught me that if a workable plan to liberate African-Americans if placed within the covers of a book, the vast majority of our people will never encounter it. They want their information not only to be entertaining but also requiring minimal effort on their part.

It is for this reason that I applaud Raoul Peck for bringing this brilliant documentary to the big screen as it removes all obstacles to African-Americans who have never encountered the unparalleled genius of the intellectual giant that was James Baldwin.

I am not your Negro is a film that you MUST go out and see for your intellectual benefit.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

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