Attallah and IIyasah Shabazz speak about Malcolm X and Dr. King at Wait Chapel

Attallah and IIyasah Shabazz speak about Malcolm X and Dr. King at Wait Chapel
January 21
00:00 2016
Photo by Tevin Stinson
The daughters of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz sat down with WFU professor Michele Gillespie to discuss the connection between their father and Dr. King on Monday, Jan. 18 at Wait Chapel on the campus of Wake Forest University.

By Tevin Stinson

The Chronicle

To commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., students from Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State come together every year for a joint session on race relations and civil rights.

The theme of this year’s event was, “On Common Ground: The Future is Dependent On Us.”

More than 500 students filed into Wait Chapel on the campus of Wake Forest to hear Attallah and IIyasah Shabazz, the daughters of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, discuss the connection between Dr. King and their father.

It is well documented that Dr. King and Malcolm disagreed on which methods blacks should use to combat racism and oppression in America. While King favored the non-violent approach, Malcolm was a firm believer in doing whatever it takes, even if that meant getting physical.

As a result, during the height of the movement, many media outlets painted a picture of sheer hate between the two. Although they had their differences, Attallah said the relationship between the two civil rights leaders was not what the media made it out to be.

“Yes they had their differences,” said Attallah. “But they respected each other as well. That’s what people fail to realize.”

The sisters also mentioned that because of the movement, over the years the two families became very close. According to IIyasah, the youngest daughter of Malcolm and Betty, she looked up to Corretta Scott King.

“She was a real inspiration to me, along with my own mother,” she said. “Because we had so much in common, the families instantly connected.

Our families have been together forever.

During the discussion with Wake Forest Dean of College and history professor Michele Gillespie, the sisters also discussed the current racial climate in America.

When asked about the Black Live Matter Movement, Attallah said King and her father would be proud that the people stand up for something. “Young people across the nation coming together to make a difference, of course they would support that,” Attallah said.

Following the event, a number of students from both universities said after listening to the sisters, they have a better understanding of what type of person Malcolm was. A few also mentioned it was interesting to hear how the two families were really close.

Amber Bates, a student at WFU said that although they believed in using different methods, both King and Malcolm were equally important to the fight for social justice.

“I think both methods are equally important,” she said. “They showed us that there is more than one way to reach our goal of social justice for all.”


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