Malcolm X, day of honor

Nebraska To Honor Malcolm X With Hall Of Fame Induction, Day Of Honor

Malcolm X’s selection to the hall of fame makes him the first Black person in the state’s history to be enshrined.

Malcolm X was honored with a day of remembrance by the Nebraska Legislature on March 28.

As the Associated Press reported, May 19 will officially be referred to as El-Hajj Malik El Shabazz, Malcolm X Day. The amendment which makes this possible was proposed by Omaha Sen. Terrell McKinney (D-NE). It does not officially make May 19, Malcolm X’s birthday, a state holiday, but it does allow for schools to recognize the contributions of Malcolm X. 

McKinney discussed the passage of the acknowledgement with USA Today, telling the outlet: “The establishment of Malcom X Day in Nebraska marks a significant milestone, symbolizing the state’s acknowledgment of the invaluable contributions and enduring legacy of its foremost advocate for human rights.”

McKinney continued, “It is my hope that his story and selfless dedication serves as an enduring beacon, guiding our state and nation towards a brighter future for all of us, especially Black people.”

As the AP reported, one of the obstacles to making May 19, the day Malcolm X was born in Omaha, Nebraska, a state holiday was the associated cost of over $500,000 a year to create a state holiday. 

The slain civil rights activist is going to have quite a busy 2024, after being one of the subjects of the most recent season of National Geographic’s Genius anthology series, alongside Martin Luther King Jr. in 2023. Also this year, Malcolm X will be inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame on May 22. 

Nebraska’s tribute to Malcolm X resonates with the efforts of Ilaysah Shabazz, one of his daughters. In February, during a discussion at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, she highlighted her work aimed at rectifying her father’s image.

Shabazz told the crowd, “When I think of my father, I’m so proud of him because he was only in his 20s when the world learned of him. When we look at the image that was portrayed of him, it’s so inaccurate. Certainly, the Malcolm X that we may have learned about in school or in the papers is not the Malcolm X in his truth.”

As WPR reported, Malcolm X’s selection to the hall of fame in 2023 made him the first Black person in the state’s history to be honored. His enshrinement follows a contentious 4-3 vote, which illustrates Shabazz’s larger point. It took the chairman of the committee, Ron Hull, voting for Malcolm X to be included to make history. 

JoAnna Leflore Ejike, the executive director of the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, told WPR that some historians considered Malcolm X violent, “but the truth of the matter is, he himself was not violent. There is no recording of violence at any of his rallies or speeches, except for the day he was assassinated.”

William King, a radio station owner in Omaha, told the outlet that it signified the slow rate of progress, remarking that it is “ironic that in 2024 that we’re still saying a Black man or Black woman is still the first to do something.”

Leflore Ejike contextualized the ceremony of the Honorable Minister Malcolm X with the present-day Black Lives Matter movement to WPR

“May is actually the month that George Floyd was murdered, and a number of other modern day lynchings,” LeFlore Ejike said. “It’ll spark new conversations at the dinner table about what we’re going to do next, because that’s what Malcolm probably would be asking.”

RELATED CONTENT: Seattle Opera’s ‘X: The Life And Times Of Malcolm X’ Receives Rave Reviews For Groundbreaking Representation And Powerful Performance