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Malcolm X 90th Anniversary Celebration

The secret to life is to have no fear.”  – Malcolm X


History in the Making: The OAAU Reunion, August 26, 2006, Harlem, New York City

Keynote Speaker

Rodnell P. Collins
Nephew of Malcolm X
President: Organization of African American Unity (OAAU)
Founder and President: The Malcolm X Ella L. Little-Collins Family Foundation, Inc.
Owner and Curator: Malcolm X Ella L. Little-Collins House National Historic Landmark

Topic: “The OAAU 2015: What Must Be Done!”

Dr. Rita Kiki Edozie
Professor of International Relations and African Affairs
Director, African American and African Studies
Michigan State University

Topic: “From OAU to OAAU: Malcolm’s Pan Africanism”

The Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) is a Pan-Africanist organization founded by Malcolm X  (Hajj - Malik Shabazz – 1925-1965) 41 years ago, in 1964. Its original of this important formation aims remain relevant.  

Malcolm X announced the establishment of the OAAU at a public meeting in New York's Audubon Ballroom on June 28, 1964. He had written the group's charter with Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Reverend Albert Cleage, Jesse Gray, and Gloria Richardson, among others. In a memo dated July 2, 1964, the nefarious FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, described the nascent OAAU as a threat to the national security of the United States.

The OAAU was modeled on the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which had impressed Malcolm during his April – May 1964 visit to Africa. The purpose of the OAAU is to fight for the human rights of Africans in America, Africa and the diaspora and promote cooperation among Africans and people of African descent in the Americas.
Malcolm X, along with Dr. John Henrik Clarke, wrote the following into the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) Basic Unity Program:

Restoration: "In order to release ourselves from the oppression of our enslavers then, it is absolutely necessary for the Afro-American to restore communication with Africa."

Reorientation: "We can learn much about Africa by reading informative books."

Education: "The Organization of Afro-American Unity will devise original educational methods and procedures which will liberate the minds of our children. We will ... encourage qualified Afro-Americans to write and publish the textbooks needed to liberate our minds ... educating them [our children] at home."

Economic Security: "After the Emancipation Proclamation ... it was realized that the Afro-American constituted the largest homogeneous ethnic group with a common origin and common group experience in the United States and, if allowed to exercise economic or political freedom, would in a short period of time own this country. We must establish a technician bank. We must do this so that the newly independent nations of Africa can turn to us who are their brothers for the technicians they will need now and in the future."

The OAAU advocated Black control of every aspect of the Black community. At the founding rally, Malcolm X stated that the organization's principal concern was the human rights of blacks, but that it would also focus on voter registration, school boycotts, rent strikes, housing rehabilitation, and social programs for addicts, unwed mothers, and troubled children. Malcolm X saw the OAAU as a way of "un-brainwashing" Black people, exposing and removing the lies they had been told about themselves and their ancient and rich culture that founded world civilization, science, mathematics, astrology, medicine, architecture

July 17, 1964, Malcolm X was welcomed to the second meeting of the Organization of African Unity in Cairo as a representative of the OAAU. When a reporter asked whether white people could join the OAAU, Malcolm X said, "Definitely not." Then he added, "If John Brown were still alive, we might accept him."

Keynote Speaker:

Rodnell P. Collins (aka Yusuf A. Hamid)

Nephew of Malcolm X
President: Organization of African American Unity (OAAU)
Founder and President: The Malcolm X Ella L. Little-Collins Family Foundation, Inc.
Owner and Curator: Malcolm X Ella L. Little-Collins House -  National Historic Landmark

“The top floor, where those two windows are, the two windows are Malcolm’s quarters,” said Rodnell Collins, pointing to the two top windows of a shabby, brown house.

Collins grew up in this house, at times sharing it with his uncle Malcolm, although at the time, he didn’t know Malcolm was his uncle.

“I thought he was my brother. I did not get that until the '50s. I knew him as my brother because I remember as a small child, barely 24 months old, my uncle had me in his arm, holding me in the kitchen while my mother was cooking,” said Collins.

He moved back into his childhood home a few years ago, putting over $100,000 into renovations hoping to preserve both the building and its memories.

Fond Memories
“When Uncle Malcolm was here he was the one that I would be playing with,” said Collins. “He’s just tickling, playing little games. He’d tickle you and you’d wrestle with him or some little thing.”

It was during his time in a Massachusetts prison that Malcolm was first exposed to the Nation of Islam. Collins remembers his uncle spending hours in a wooden Shaker rocking chair, the red velvet cloth worked to the bone. “That was his favorite chair and he worked it in enough to squeak,” said Collins.  “That’s the same cushion, the same cloth. I won’t ever change the cloth on that chair. He liked rocking, and you’d see him rock in that chair and thinking while he was rocking and reading, and he did that a lot.”

But Collins said his fondest memories of his uncle were made on the third floor, in Malcolm’s modest living quarters. It’s an attic apartment, made smaller by a slanted roof. There’s a small bedroom with a twin bed off to the right, a kitchenette to the left and a living room and bathroom.

“I’d see him standing here shaving,” said Collins, standing at the kitty-corner sink. “I remember as a child, looking up at him as he was shaving. At the time, I couldn’t understand why anyone had to shave.”

After Uncle Malcolm Moves On
Malcolm left the house, and Boston, in the early 1950s, and became one of the most controversial and influential black figures in American history.

A House Revived
When Malcolm was assassinated in 1965, Collins said the family was too distraught to stay in the Dale Street home. It sat vacant for decades, falling into disrepair: the roof needs replacing and water damage has made the first floor uninhabitable.

But in June 2012, the National Trust for Historic Preservation added the Malcolm X house to its list of endangered historic places. It hopes to raise $750,000 to revamp the building into graduate school housing. That door may soon be opened to a lot more people when the house is fully restored.



THE MALCOLM X, ELLA L. LITTLE-COLLINS FAMILY FOUNDATION, INC., a non-profit 501, has three primary objectives:

1. Provide educational scholarships for graduate college students, known at the foundation as  “CITIZEN STUDENTS.” These students work freely in the development of their respective communities. THE MALCOLM X, ELLA L. LITTLE-COLLINS FAMILY FOUNDATION, INC., (MX-ELLC-FFI) offers four (4) scholarships per year in areas of science, medicine, engineering and law. Every four years a “MALCOLM X LAW SCHOLARSHIP” will be awarded to a graduate student.

2. Archive the legacy of the Malcolm X Little-Collins family.

3. Restore and preserve the only standing childhood home of Malcolm X located at 72 Dale Street, Roxbury, Massachusetts (Boston), next to the large historic Malcolm X Park.

To donate modest financial contributions for the preservation of the historic Malcolm home, please visit:

Please contact: [email protected] for more information and to contribute large donations for THE MALCOLM X, ELLA L. LITTLE-COLLINS FAMILY FOUNDATION, INC.  Donation of funds is tax-exempt and corporate tax-credits are available. Thank you.


Dr. Rita Kiki Edozie is Director of African American and African Studies (AAAS) in the College of Arts and Letters and Professor of International Relations and African Affairs at James Madison College of Public Affairs (JMC) at Michigan State University (MSU). She has written and published extensively on topics in African American, African Diaspora, and African studies and she has built AAAS into a leading national program that each year recruits a strong cohort of students into its graduate studies Ph.D. and MA degrees and undergraduate studies specialization programs.  She is the author, co-author, editor of five books including two forthcoming books in which she continues to develop her innovative Pan-Africanist interests and her concern with the history of Black studies: The African Union’s Africa: New Pan African Initiatives in Global Governance with Keith Gottschalk (forthcoming MSU Press, 2014) and Malcolm X and the Black Studies Discipline: Discourses, Race, Identities, and Michigan in the Black World Struggle with Curtis Stokes (forthcoming, MSU Press, 2014).

After earning a Ph.D. in Political Science from the New School for Social Research in 1999, Dr. Edozie’s first book, People, Power and Democracy: The Popular Movement against Military Despotism in Nigeria, 1989 – 1999 was published by Africa World Press in 2002. Dr. Edozie subsequently taught international relations, comparative politics, and African politics courses at a number of universities including the University of Delaware and Columbia University. She has received several awards and fellowships including a National Council of Black Studies for a “Liberation Film Series with Charles Wright Museum of African American History” and the MSU Creative Excellence and Inclusion Award.

Dr. Edozie enjoys her multiple teaching, research, and administrative roles at MSU.  She is a tireless teacher and scholar and a dedicated and conscientious program director. She considers herself a Pan-Africanist and appreciates the fact that her work within AAAS and JMC is interdisciplinary and that she is able to work with other scholars in a variety of fields.  “Another reason I wanted to come to MSU was because the African Studies Center was here and is nationally renowned.  I saw opportunities to work collaboratively with the ASC.”

Describing herself as a critical thinker and a Pan-Africanist, Dr. Edozie spends her free time (outside of raising her children) reconnecting with dance and music.  “I’m fascinated by African dance because I grew up with that.  Now, it has evolved into the African American Diaspora and those are some of the connections that I’m excited about.” 

As a woman in academia, Dr. Edozie has had to overcome some obstacles and although strides have been made in terms of women in the field, Dr. Edozie gives aspiring female scholars some advice; “whatever passion you have that motivates you to be in this field – hold onto it.  You will be opposed, sidetracked, belittled and marginalized, but stay with it.  How do you stay with it?  You need to learn how to negotiate – as much as possible, try to weave through and navigate through the opposition and marginalization, the contestations.”



Suggested Readings and Links

  • WATCH: We go inside the Malcolm X Ella Little Collins House

On Wednesday, after the announcement that NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo would not be indicted for killing Eric Garner, the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund Twitter posted a series of tweets naming 76 men and women who were killed in police custody since the 1999 death of Amadou Diallo in New York. Starting with the most recent death, what follows are more detailed accounts of many of those included in the Legal Defense Fund's tweets:

From Civil Rights to Black Liberation: Malcolm X and the Organization of Afro-American Unity, Dr. William W. Sales Jr. South End Press, 1994, 256 pp.

[PDF]Malcolm X's Michigan Worldview:

Project MUSE - Malcolm X's Michigan Worldview

Rita Kiki Edozie and Curtis Stokes (Editors). Malcolm X's Michigan Worldview: An Exemplar for Contemporary Black Studies. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2015. 

Rita Kiki Edozie and Curtis Stokes, the co-editors, compile a rich and comprehensive anthology that serves as a parallel investigation of key events and themes drawn from Malcolm’s experiences. Chapters leverage Malcolm’s early life in Michigan to enunciate his extraordinary human experiences.

Editors and contributors of the volume are renowned Black Studies scholars and educators, including R. Kiki Edozie, Curtis Stokes, Herb Boyd, Abdul Alkalimat, Errol Henderson, Geneva Smitherman, Charles Ezra Ferrell, Sheila Radford-Hill, Zain Abdullah, Ibram Kendi, Carl Taylor, Ahmad Rahman, Ollie Johnson, Joseph McLauren, Lenwood Davis, and Edward Davis, Jr.

The provocative debate about the “Malcolm legacy” that emerged after the publication of Manning Marable’s 2011 Malcolm X – A Life of Reinvention raised several important questions about the radical Black Nationalist’s importance to American and World affairs.

What is Malcolm’s legacy in contemporary public affairs? Was Malcolm a humanist or a Black Nationalist or a Revolutionary Internationalist? Was Malcolm a Race Man? Was Malcolm anti-feminist? What was Malcolm’s association with the Nation of Islam? How should we interpret Malcolm’s discourses? How do Malcolm’s early childhood experiences in Michigan shape and inform his worldview?

Malcolm X’s Michigan Worldview engages these questions by presenting Malcolm’s Subject as an iconography used to deepen an understanding of the experiences of African descendent peoples through advanced research and disciplinary study. The current book is a Black Studies reader that uses the biography of Malcolm X to interrogate key aspects of the Black World experience while contributing to the intellectual expansion of the discipline. The sixteen-chapter reader presents Malcolm as a Black Subject who represents, symbolizes, and associates meaning with the Black/Africana Studies discipline.

Through a range of multi-disciplinary prisms and themes including Discourse, Race, Culture, Religion, Gender, Politics, and Community, as the subtitle “An Exemplar for Contemporary Black Studies” for this reader suggests, Malcolm’s experiences are interrogated. These core Black Studies themes serve to elicit insights about the Malcolm iconography that contribute to the continuous formulation, deepening, and strengthening, of the Black Studies discipline.

Malcolm X: The Man and His Times: John Henrik Clarke ...

Dr. John Henrik Clarke - Malcolm X - YouTube

Dr. John Henrik Clarke - The Legacy of Malcolm X...

Malcolm X in Debate at Oxford - 50 years later
Rodnell P. Collins - Interviewed by Stephen Tuck of Pembroke College