Universities around the nation had refused to let the controversial Malcolm X speak on their campuses in 1961 and even the calendar of Brown University that year doesn’t make mention of his visit, but thanks to the persistence of senior Malcolm Burnley, a speech by the historical figure has been heard again after fifty years languishing in an attic.
A critique of the Nation of Islam, penned by senior and owner of the recording Katherine Pierce, prompted Malcolm X’s request to defend his beliefs to Brown’s staff and students, but it was the editor of the school newspaper, a young and obviously already persuasive Richard Holbrooke, who convinced the administration to give him a hearing.
The recording provides a new perspective on Malcolm X’s views at the time, and Burnley intends to keep following the path his trip to the university archives for a school project put him on so that this speech and historical moment isn’t lost again.
Full story at NPR.
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