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Fifty years since the chickens came home to roost

Parry Singh Mudhar

November 19, 2013

On December 1, 1963, during the question period after Malcolm X’s talk, “God’s Judgment of White America”, at the Manhattan Center in New York, the international human rights leader delivered words that shocked not only America’s ruling class but also the leader of his own organization, the Nation of Islam.
When asked by a reporter how he felt about the recent assassination of American President John F. Kennedy, on November 22, X responded by explaining how the hate and injustice spread by the US not only at home but worldwide had rightfully returned to reclaim one of their own. He described the assassination as an example of “chickens coming home to roost.”
X mentioned the assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers by a KKK member, the assassination of the Congo’s first democratically elected Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, and the racial terrorism involved in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, where four black girls were killed when the largest black church in Birmingham, Alabama was attacked. X’s famous words ended, “Being an old farm boy myself, chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad; they’ve always made me glad.”
The Nation of Islam responded to Malcolm X’s famous words by requiring him to not speak to the media for 90 days. This eventually helped catalyze his departure from the organization and began his period of international travel to Mecca, where his politics shifted from radical separatism towards revolutionary politics.
At times it may seem daunting to continue the global fight against capitalist and imperial injustice, but as Tupac Shakur famously stated, "We talk a lot about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., but it’s time to be like them, as strong as them. They were mortal men like us and every one of us can be like them.”

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