of Malcolm X
Davis delivers the Eulogy.
Faith Temple Church Of God, February 27,1965
Here, at this final hour,
in this quiet place, Harlem has come to bid farewell to one of its
brightest hopes, extinguished now and gone from us forever. For Harlem
is where he worked and where he struggled and fought. His home of
homes where his heart was and where his people are. And it is, therefore,
most fitting that we meet once again in Harlem to share these last
moments with him. For Harlem has ever been gracious to those who loved
her, have fought for her and have defended her honor even to the death.
It is not in the memory
of man that this beleaguered, unfortunate but nonetheless proud community
has found a braver, more gallant young champion than this Afro-American
who lies before us, unconquered still. I say the word again, as he
would want me to: Afro-American. Afro-American Malcolm, who was a
master, was most meticulous in his use of words. Nobody knew better
than he the power words have over the minds of men. Malcolm had stopped
being a 'Negro' years ago. It had become too small, too puny, too
weak a word for him. Malcolm was bigger than that. Malcolm had become
an Afro-American and he wanted so desperately that we, that all his
people, would become Afro-Americans, too.
There are those who will
consider it their duty, as friends of the Negro people, to tell us to
revile him, to flee even, from the presence of his memory, to save ourselves
by writing him out of the history of our turbulent times. Many will
ask what Harlem finds to honor in this stormy, controversial and bold
young captain. And we will smile. Many will say turn away, away from
this man, for he is not a man but a demon, a monster, a subverter and
an enemy of the black man. And we will smile. They will say that he
is of hate, a fanatic, a racist who can only bring evil to the cause
for which you struggle! And we will answer and say to them: Did you
ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did you ever touch him, or have him smile
at you? Did you ever really listen to him? Did he ever do a mean thing?
Was he ever himself associated with violence or any public disturbance?
For if you did you would know him. And if you knew him you would know
why we must honor him:
Malcolm was our manhood,
our living, black manhood! This was his meaning to his people. Consigning
these mortal remains to earth, the common mother of all, secure in the
knowledge that what we place in the ground is no more now a man but
a seed which, after the winter of our discontent, will come forth again
to meet us. And we will know him then for what he was and is. A prince.
Our own black shining prince who didn't hesitate to die because he loved