Malcolm was a child of the racial turmoil that prevailed in the early half of the Twentieth Century. His father was an activist Baptist preacher and leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, and the family was forced to move to Milwaukee and then to Lansing Michigan soon after Malcolm was born because of threats from the KKK and other White supremacist groups. When Malcolm was six, his father was killed in a streetcar "accident."
Young Malcolm gravitated to Harlem, where he engaged in petty theft, pimping, and drug dealing. During the last of his numerous stints in prison, his brother introduced him to the newly founded Nation of Islam and its leader Elijah Muhammad. Muhammad's message that "Black people are the original people of the world and are superior to Whites and White people are 'devils' and are destined to disappear from the earth" resonated with Malcolm's own sensibilities, and after his parole in 1952, Malcolm X became an active member and preacher in the Nation of Islam.
The assassination of Malcolm X on a snow covered Harlem sidewalk, 47 days before the hundredth anniversary of Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, marked the beginning of the end of the post-Civil War struggle of Black America for equality. Three years later, in April 1968, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis would open the eyes of White America to the plight of their Black fellow-Americans and stimulate redress for a century of oppression.
Unfortunately, the hatred and animosity stimulated by that oppression linger on, kept alive by such men as Elijah Muhammad disciple Louis Farrakhan and racial opportunist Al Sharpton. Racism, in the second decade of the Twenty-first Century, exists only in the anti-White hysteria of the Black community. Yes, that hysteria sprang legitimately from White suppression. But the White suppression is gone, and all that's left is the irrational Black rage.
It took four generations to erase the attitudes of slavery from White America. Will it take another four to erase the resentment from Black America? Maybe, but we can accelerate the process by actively including Blacks in the mainstream current of White American culture. And the only way we can do that is by letting them know we expect them to act like Whites – with responsibility and integrity. Treating them like children of Mother Washington will only impede the process.