Historian Dr. Yosef A. A. ben-Jochannan (00:38) leaving the funeral of Malcolm X, buried under his Muslim name, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Faith Temple Church of God in Christ (now Childs Memorial Temple COCIG), 1763 Amsterdam Ave., Harlem, N. Y., Feb. 27, 1965. Dr. ben-Jochannan died on March 19, 2015.
This clip is excerpted from "El Hajj Malik El Shabazz," an award-winning episode of "Like It Is" (WABC-TV, New York, February 1975), written, produced and narrated by the late Gil Noble. The complete episode is here:
It also includes militant Detroit attorney Milton R. Henry, known during the late 1960s as Republic of New Africa (RNA) co-founder Gaidi Abiodun Obadele, who is the third pallbearer on the side facing the camera.
WITH DR. BEN @ "SOUL DAY"
Dr. Ben, as he was affectionately known (because most people found it difficult to pronounce his surname), made one of his last visits to Detroit in the early 2000s to appear at "Soul Day" at Northwestern High School, which Baba Clarence Harris, who helped introduce Dr. Ben to Detroiters, began after the 1967 Detroit Rebellion.
I sat in on Sis. Malaika Nsoroma's interview with Dr. Ben, which gave me a chance to see if I could repair my relationship with him, which was strained since I took his class on ancient Kemetian/Egyptian history at Detroit's now-defunct Shaw College about 1977.
At "Soul Day," I asked him when he first met Malcolm X. He paused, thought for a moment, then replied, "I first saw him outside the Braddock Hotel in the 1940s." I knew that this was when the young Malcolm X, still known by his "slave name" Little, was hustling in Harlem under the street name "Detroit Red."
Dr. Ben looked at me and asked, "You know where the 'Amsterdam News' is?" referring to Harlem's longest-running "black" newspaper, located on Eighth Avenue. When I nodded, he smiled warmly and I knew that he had set the past aside. The Braddock was a seven-story hotel on the southeastern corner of West 126th Street and Eighth Avenue.
DR. BEN AND MALCOLM X
While our reunion was deeply gratifying, I wish that I'd told him all I'd learned about his relationship with Malcolm X:
* How they'd become reacquainted after Malcolm X, following his six-and-a-half-year stint in three Massachusetts prisons for burglary, moved back to Harlem in 1954 as the ascetic minister of Muhammad's Temple of Islam No. 7 (later Mosque No. 7-A) of Elijah Muhammad's "race"-centered Nation of Islam (NOI).
* How their connexion was bibliophile "Professer" Lewis H. Michaux, the proprietor of the Harlem's world-famous National Memorial African Book Store, dubbed the "House of Common Sense and Home of Proper Propaganda," located at 2105 7th Ave., near West 125th Street.
This intersection, which was popular among Harlem's colorful stepladder and platform street speakers, had long been known as "Harlem Square," but black nationalists like Michaux renamed it "Africa Square" during the continent's national independence drive in the late 1950s. Malcolm X often held mass NOI rallies in front of Michaux's bookstore. I've posted a video of a May 13, 1961, rally here:
Also, I posted a long-lost March 12, 1964, video of Malcolm X being interviewed by NBC News in the back of the bookstore here:
* How Dr. Ben collaborated with Malcolm X as a member of Michaux's neo-Garveyite African Nationals in America, Inc. (ANIA), which sought to "repatriate" Western "black" people to the motherland.
* How, after Malcolm X was forced out of the NOI in early March 1964, he drew closer to his political mentor Michaux, Dr. Ben and the ANIA, whose headquarters was kitty-corner to the Hotel Theresa at 2090 7th Ave., where Malcolm X set up the headquarters of his new Muslim Mosque, Inc. (MMI), a black nationalist and Sunni Islamic group, and later his Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), a secular pan-Africanist group.
A June 1964 "Life" magazine photo of Malcolm X and Michaux inside of the former's headquarters at Suite 128 could be seen here:
Note that Michaux is wearing a fez, which is what the man behind Dr. Ben could be seen wearing at Malcolm X's funeral. This was part of the ANIA's mode of dress.
* How, when Malcolm X was traveling in Britain, the so-called Middle East, Africa and Europe to "internationalize" the African American "human rights" struggle in the fall and winter of 1964, Dr. Ben taught African history at the OAAU's Liberation School, sponsored by the group's education committee and held in this same suite.
I also wish that I could've showed Dr. Ben the video of him paying respects to his friend at his funeral.
Rest well, my esteemed teacher, and thank you -- for EVERYTHING.
* * *
NEW, 4/7/15: Pt. 2 of this video: