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Car Caravan Through Oakland Marks Anniversary Of Malcolm X Assassination

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- On the anniversary of Malcolm X's assasination, dozens gathered at Middle Harbor Park in Oakland Monday afternoon for a car caravan through the city. They called for "resurrection, resistance and resurgence" in the name the fiery civil rights crusader who didn't shy away from expressing outrage.

While Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. brought a sense of moral indignation to the civil rights movement, Malcolm X brought a flame-thrower. In one of his most famous speeches, he declared:

"We declare our right on this Earth, to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being, in this society, on this Earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary!"

Kenneth Phelps of Alameda, was a young Black man in the 1960's and said he wrestled in his own mind about who to follow -- Dr. King or Malcolm X. He said even some in the Black community thought Malcolm was too inflammatory.

"There was one point in time when we didn't accept Malcolm," said Phelps, "because we thought he was just a radical, crazy nut. But as more time goes by, then we realize--maybe he knew what he was talking about."

Malcolm didn't trust that injustice could be solved by integration into white society. He felt African Americans needed to create their own solutions, even if it meant radically disrupting the status quo to do it.

Caravan organizer Tur-ha Ak said, in the era of Black Lives Matter, it is Malcolm's message that is now resonating with young African Americans.

"We have yet to see if the progress is lasting and permanent. And many of us would question whether it is actual progress," he said. "Black people are hopefully coming to the realization that self-determination is our only way. That we have to save ourselves."

Sixty years later, with some of the same injustices still happening, Oakland resident LaKiesha Golden said she's lost her patience and wonders if Malcolm's ideas were really so radical after all.

"I mean, there just comes a point where, after so much talking, when you're saying the same thing over and over and over, sometimes we have to take a different method," she said.

Tur-ha Ak agreed, "His legacy is very important right now, as it ever was, right? Because we still have a lot of work to do and a lot of pushing to do."

Monday's car caravan was the final in a weeklong series of events celebrating Black solidarity in Oakland.

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