Looks like Malcolm X is still ruffling some feathers after all these years.
Thirty years after the Black Student Leadership Group at the University of Rhode Island protested over a quote from the civil rights leader, NPR reported the school has removed a partial quote from the front of school’s main library. Blank panels with matching granite will replace where the quote used to be.
The protest started because students felt the shortened quote from, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, misrepresented the full meaning of X’s message, reading, “My alma mater was books, a good library … I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.”
The full quote states, “I told the Englishman that my alma mater was books, a good library. Every time I catch a plane, I have with me a book that I want to read — and that’s a lot of books these days. If I weren’t out here every day battling the white man, I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity — because you can hardly mention anything I’m not curious about.”
Students were so enraged, it sparked a takeover of a campus building. The 1992 protestors gathered for a reunion, where Marc Parlange, university president, vowed to have it removed. “The removal of this inscription started 30 years ago, when a group of URI students had the courage to stand up and speak out against injustices happening at that time,” Parlange said, according to WBUR News. “Our university is grateful to those students for their courage, and I am grateful to today’s generation of student leaders who, advocating in that same spirit, continue to inspire our ongoing work to foster a truly inclusive and equitable community.”
X, whose real name was Malcolm Little and later changed to el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, was assassinated in 1965 at the age of 39. Inspired by his activism, Michelle Fontes, who participated in the campus protest, said she’s pleased she is seeing what she worked for. “I am happy to have been part of the activism that took place in 1992 and this quote finally being removed is proof that our new administration is listening and striving to do better,” Fontes said.