For Malcolm: Poems on the Life and Death of Malcolm X



For Malcolm: Poems on the Life and Death of Malcolm X

This edition

"For Malcolm: Poems on the Life and Death of Malcolm X" . Ed. Dudley Randall and Margaret Burroughs. Preface Ossie Davis. Detroit: Broadside Press, 1967. xxvi+127 pp. $2.00

Other editions, reprints, and translations

• Prospectus for "For Malcolm, an Anthology of Poems on the Life and Death of Malcolm X." Mimeograph. 4 pp. (Includes 1 page of excerpts of poems from the book, description of the anthology, and a form for ordering advance copies for $2.00 per copy. According to the prospectus, 'the book will be published December 15, 1966'" (UCLA). [Google Books, no preview]
• "2nd ed." Detroit: Broadside Press, 1969. xxvi+127 pp. [$2.95; cloth $4.95: see "Black Books Bulletin" 1-2 (1971): 54.]
• repr. 2nd ed. 4th printing. Detroit: Broadside Press, 1969. xxvi+126 pp.
• repr. 2nd ed. 6th printing. Detroit: Broadside Press, 1973. xxvi+126 pp.

Online access

• 1967 ed.: Google Books [no preview]
• 1969 ed.: Google Books [no preview]
• 1969 ed.: HathiTrust [search only]

Table of contents

Includes 43 poets: [incomplete and needs confirming]: Biography of Malcolm X -- Ossie Davis / Preface -- Dudley Randall and Margaret Burroughs / Introduction -- Section I: The Life: Gwendolyn Brooks / "Malcolm X" (3) – Christine C. Johnson / "My Brother Malcolm" (3) – Mari Evans / "The Insurgent" (4) – Ted Joans / "My Ace of Spades" (5) -- James Worley / "The Cost" (5) – Clarence Major / "They Feared That He Believed" (6) -- Robert Hayden / "El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X)" (14-16). Section II: The Death: Larry Neal / "Malcolm X—An Autobiography" – Larry Neal / "Morning Raga for Malcolm" (19-21) -- Joyce Whitsitt (Malaika Wangara) / "For Malcolm" (20-21) – Etheridge Knight / "It Was a Funky Deal" (21) – Margaret Burroughs / "Brother Freedom" (22) – Kent Foreman / "Sleep Bitter, Brother" (23) -- Ted Joans / "True Blues for a Dues Payer" (25) – Clarence Major / "Death of a Man: For Malcolm" (26) – Jay Wright / "The Solitude of Change" (28-29) -- Margaret Walker / "For Malcolm X" (32-33) -- Reginald Wilson / "For Our American Cousins" (36) -- Etheridge Knight / "For Malcolm, a Year After" (43) – Bobb Hamilton / "For Malik" (43-44) – David Henderson / "They Are Killing All the Young Men" and "For Malcolm X" (46-54) -- K. William Kgositsile / "Brother Malcolm's Echo" (55) – John Sinclair – LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) / "A Poem for Black Hearts" (61-62) -- Sonia Sanchez / "Malcolm" (66) – Raymond R. Patterson / "At That Moment" (69) – Christine C. Johnson / "When You Died" (71-72) – Edward S. Spriggs / "Stillborn Pollen Falling" (72-73) and "For Brother Malcolm" (73) – Etheridge Knight / "The Sun Came" (73-74) – Edward S. Spriggs / "Berkeley's Blue Black" (74) – Nanina Alba -- Marcella B. Caine / "Jungle Flowers" – Margaret Danner –Julia Fields / "For Malcolm" – Bill Frederick -- Zach Gilbert – Carmin Auld Goulbourne / "Letter for El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz" – Le Graham – Oliver La Grone – Bobb Hamilton -- Theodore Horne / "Malcolm Exsiccated" and "There's Fire (For February 21)" --David Llorens – James Lucas -- Patricia McIlnay – George Norman -- James Patterson / "Ballada o Neizvestnosti" (Ballad to the Anonymous) – Helen Quigless – Conrad Kent Rivers –Jay Wright -- and others. -- Ossie Davis / "Eulogy for Malcolm X." Bibliography of works by and about Malcolm X. Notes on contributors. Index of authors. Index of poems. ]

About the anthology

• Back cover copy (1967 ed.):
"From the preface by Ossie Davis to the very last poem, this book is a great tribute to a great man, a man who so loved the black and disinherited of this world that he gave his life that they might live their own lives more abundantly. And yet these poems are testaments to his *life*, not to his *death*.
"While reading these testaments, I was moved interchangeably to laughter and to tears, to sorrow and to exultation. After I had finished, I was left with a feeling of deep pride for having known this 'black shining prince' of all our dreams and aspirations. I was filled with a deep pride for the human race, most of whom are among the disinherited, and therefore truly Malcolm's brothers and sisters. I said to myself again and again: 'Malcolm lives! Malcolm lives!'"—*John Oliver Killens*, Author of *Youngblood* and *And Then We Heard the Thunder*.
"At the end of his Othello performance in Stratford on Avon, Paul Robeson stood before the world as a symbol, a flame, as light itself. Similarly, Malcolm X radiates from the pages of this book; his flame has lit the talent of those who eulogize him"—*Rosey E. Pool*, Editor of *Beyond the Blues*.
• "Edited by Dudley Randall and Margaret Burroughs and dedicated to 'Mrs. Betty Shabazz,' the slain leader's widow, "For Malcolm" supported the idea that Malcolm was a political and creative inspiration for black poets; the anthology also contained a few white poets. The poems in the collection were organized under the headings 'The Life,' 'The Death,' 'The Rage,' and 'The Aftermath' the book also contained author photographs and a reprint of Ossie Davis's eulogy of Malcolm" (James Smethurst and Howard Rambsy II. "Reform and Revolution, 1965-1976: The Black Aesthetic at Work." "The Cambridge History of African American Literature". Ed. Maryemma Graham and Jerry W. Ward, Jr. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011. 408-09).
• "The book opens with a photo of Malcolm X dated February 1965, the month and year that the minister and political leader was assassinated, and the book is dedicated to 'Mrs. Betty Shabazz,' Malcolm's widow. . . . Near the beginning of the book, "For Malcolm" also contains a six-page biography of the leader, a preface by Ossie Davis explaining why he eulogized Malcolm X, and an introduction by the editors, which explains how the book came into being" (Rambsy 2004: 180).
• In the introduction to the anthology, Randall and Burroughs explain that Margaret Walker's poem "For Malcolm X" inspired the idea for the anthology (Boyd 2003: 143). They also emphasize what they, and the poets they have collected, take to be the significance of Malcolm X: "The theme which recurs in many of the poems, and which recalls the theme of Ossie Davis's preface [and of his eulogy], is that Malcolm was a man, in spite of white America's efforts to emasculate the Blackman. There is no black man, regardless of his agreement or disagreement with Malcolm's politics, goals, or racial theories, whether he's a serf in Mississippi, a cat on the corner in Chicago, or a black bourgeois in Westchester, who didn't feel a stiffening of his spine and pride in his blackness when he saw or heard Malcolm take on all comers, and rout them. There are some who feel threatened by the taking of full manhood rights by the Blackman. Malcolm was a man, and for being a man he was murdered" (xxi-xxii; quoted in Buck 2017: 24).
• The editors' introduction also notes that, "The figures apostrophized by the poets are not the slave-holding Washington or Jefferson, but freedom fighters Toussaint L'Ouverture, Gabriel Prosser, Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, and leaders in our own time Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Du Bois, Robert Williams, Patrice Lumumba, and LeRoi Jones" (xxi; quoted in Boyd 2003: 146).
• Following the editors' introduction is a preface by Ossie Davis, "the actor and playwright who famously eulogized Malcolm X, and Davis's eulogy itself is printed in the back of the anthology" (Buck 2017: 25). (If Malcolm X's life and death were the events that inspired the poems in the collection, the "text" that sets the precedent for the poems in the anthology was Davis's eulogy, which was also included in the Ballantine Books edition of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" in 1973.) Davis's eulogy engages the conflicting views between "us" and "them" on "this stormy, controversial and bold young captain": some will say "he is not a man but a demon, a monster, a subverter and an enemy of the black man . . . They will say that he is of hate—a fanatic, a racist—who can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle!" but "we will answer and say unto them . . . 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. And, in honoring him, we honor the best in ourselves" (121); Davis ends the eulogy by converting Malcolm X's assassination into a Christ-like self-sacrifice: "he was and is—a Prince—our own black shining Prince!—who didn't hesitate to die, because he loved us so" (122) (quoted in Buck 2017: 25). (Marie Buck observes that, "The language of 'black shining prince' occurs again and again in the book's poems, as do the defensiveness around Malcolm's legacy and the theme of a seed's having been planted" [Buck 2017: 25].)
• In his preface, Davis offers "a reply to a magazine editor who asked him why he had eulogized Malcolm X": Davis writes: "You may anticipate my defense somewhat by considering the following fact: no Negro has yet asked me that question . . . Every one of the many letters I got from my own people lauded Malcolm as a man, and commended me for having spoken at his funeral.
"At the same time—and this is important—most all of them took special pains to disagree with much or all of what Malcolm said and what he stood for. That is, with one singing exception, they all, every last, black, glory-hugging one of them, knew that Malcolm—whatever else he was or was not—*Malcolm was a man!* [bold in original] White folks do not need anybody to remind them that they are men. We do! This was his one incontrovertible benefit to his people" (xxiii-xxiv; quoted in Buck 2017: 26).
• "Broadview Press in Detroit is now receiving reservations for the second edition of "For Malcolm: Poems on the Life and Death of Malcolm X". Publisher Dudley Randall reports that the first edition is all sold out. An Italian publisher has requested permission to reprint some of the poems from the "For Malcolm" anthology" ("Notes on Writers and Writing." "Negro Digest" [Sept. 1967]: 50 [Google Books preview]).

Reviews and notices of anthology

• "Notes about books and authors." "Negro Digest" (Jan. 1967): 50. [Google Books preview]
"The Broadside Press announced the publication of an anthology, "For Malcolm: Poems on the Life and Death of Malcolm X". Poets represented in the volume range from Gwendolyn Brooks and Robert Hayden to such relative unknowns as Joyce Whitsitt and Etheridge Knight. Editor Dudley Randall reports that the anthology 'includes a brief biography of Malcolm and an exhaustive, up-to-date list of publications by and about him. Playwright Ossie Davis contributes the preface.' The address is 12651 Old Mill Place, Detroit, Mich. 48238, and the price is $2, postpaid" (50). [full notice]
• "About Writers and Writing." "Negro Digest" (March 1967): 83. [Google Books preview]
"For writers willing to take chances on long-term royalties and no immediate advance, the new Broadside Press in Detroit might hold out promise. The fledgling firm's first ["sic"] publication, "For Malcolm: Poems On The Life and Death Of Malcolm X", was published this winter. The contributors ranged from Gwendolyn Brooks to poets unheard of a year ago. What is so important, apart from the project itself, is the fact that the publishers and the writers are all from the ghetto, and the project smacks of unity" (83). [full notice]
• Feldman, Eugen P. R. "Poets Pay Tribute to Malcolm X in New Book." "Chicago Defender" 13 May 1967: 7. "ProQuest".
In "this unique and great anthology," poets "gather together and offer poems . . . as a tribute to a murdered brother. . . . The poets represent all schools of thought. Many of them differed in view with Malcolm X. But they didn't differ in regarding him as a man in the most masculine sense with guts and nerve to speak of wrongs. Here is their brother from the filthy ghetto and from the penitentiary telling it as it is, going through several hot hells, awakening people, and lastly being felled by the metal of death for what he preached. They recognize him as a brother. They will not accept the image of the big press: that he was a racist in reverse, a fanatic, a dangerous person. He is their flesh and blood in all of these poems and they recognize their common hurts and their common suffering. These poems also 'tell it as it is.' They make things clean where they had been portrayed as dirty. They create a unity where there has been too much division. They say really: 'In many things we are divided, but in this, Our Malcolm X, we stand together.' Here are prize-winning poets like Gwendolyn Brooks, LeRoi Jones, Robert Hayden, Margaret Walker and Margaret Danner. Here are many other—all well known ["sic"]." [almost full text of review]

Commentary on anthology

• "In 1966, while attending the Fisk Negro Writers' Conference in Nashville, [Dudley] Randall decided, along with poet Margaret Burroughs, to edit a collection of poems paying tribute to Malcolm X. The collection on Malcolm would have been the first book published by Broadside [est. 1965, and initially publishing single poems as broadsides], but a printing problem delayed its release, making it the press's second publication. "For Malcolm: Poems on the Life and Death of Malcolm X" was published in 1967, becoming one of the first books of the era to feature the work of several Black Arts writers. . . . // The publication of such a regionally diverse [and] intergenerational [group of] poets in one site on a specific topic projected a sense of unity among the writers. The focus on Malcolm suggested that the poets shared an allegiance to black nationalist ideology. The popularity of "For Malcolm" increased the value of the Broadside imprint as a publisher of African American poetry" (James Smethurst and Howard Rambsy II. "Reform and Revolution, 1965-1976: The Black Aesthetic at Work." "The Cambridge History of African American Literature". Ed. Maryemma Graham and Jerry W. Ward, Jr. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011. 408-09; see also 447).
• Margaret Burroughs had been "affiliated with leftist politics in Chicago since the 1940s" (Boyd 2003: 131); see Strong & Evone 1994.
• After Burroughs proposed the idea to Randall of his collecting contemporary poems on Malcolm X, and Randall endorsed the idea and suggested that Burroughs be his co-editor, the two of them announced the planned collection at the final session of the 1966 Fisk University Writers' Conference, "offering the writers there a concrete vehicle for their poems. David Llorens promised to announce it in "Negro Digest" . . . and in a few days I received the first poem. This anthology is notable not only for the many fine poems it includes, but also because it brings mature poets such as Robert Hayden, Margaret Walker, and Gwendolyn Brooks together with younger poets such as LeRoi Jones, Larry Neal, Bobb Hamilton, Sonia Sanchez, Julia Fields, Etheridge Knight, David Llorens, and others. My editorship of the book acquainted me with many of the younger poets and with the periodicals "Soulbook" and "Black Dialogue", and led to rewarding friendships with some of the poets" (Dudley Randall. "Broadside Press: A Personal Chronicle." In "SOS—Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader". Ed. John H. Bracey, Jr., Sonia Sanchez, and James Smethurst. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2014. 68).
• Writing to Robert Hayden on 29 April 1966, after the 1966 Fisk Writers' Conference, Dudley Randall requests his correspondent's aid for the prposed anthology: "Perhaps you've heard on the campus that Broadside Press is publishing a volume of poems in memory // of Malcolm X. If you have written one or if you write one in the near future, why not send it to Broadside Press, 12651 Old Mill Place, Detroit, Michigan 48238. And will you tell other poets on campus and the students in your Writers' Workshop about it? I'll send a printed notice to the English department [at Fisk] about it later, but in the meantime you can pass the word along, and if you have the names and addresses of any other poets that would be interested in contributing to the anthology, would you send them to me, please" (quoted in Boyd 2003: 129-30).
• Randall also solicited contributions for the anthology through black periodicals: "Since I knew Hoyt Fuller, editor of "Negro Digest", I asked him to announce the anthology, "For Malcolm", in his magazine. I wrote other magazines and asked them to announce it as well. The poems started coming in, but it took a long time to get the book together. After we [Randall and Burroughs] selected a poem, we had to write the poet and ask him or her to send a biographical sketch and a photograph, and they were slow in doing that" (quoted in Boyd 2003: 141; itallics reversed here).
• Randall traveled to Russia in 1966 and there he says he "found out about a black Russian poet, Jim Patterson, whose book I have, and whose poetry was published in the "For Malcolm" anthology" (quoted in Boyd 2003: 141).
• "Oddly enough, Randall did not write a poem for the Malcolm X anthology. In fact, he said he felt Martin Luther King had done more than Malcolm X for the liberation of blacks. But as an editor, he acknowledged Malcolm X as a cultural icon and knew that there was an audience in the factories, in the prisons, and in the nonliterary quarters of the community, spaces where Malcolm X lived and spoke: [Randall writes] 'There is a growing market for black books, not only among the young black high school and college students, but also among older, less educated persons. A neighbor told me that he saw a worker on the production line of an automobile factory with a copy of the anthology "For Malcolm" in his hip pocket. I often got orders for poetry books, which are scrawled on part of a brown paper bag. I was more pleased to receive such individual orders than to receive a large order from a bookstore or a jobber, for this showed that black people were reading poetry and finding it meaningful, not an esoteric art'" (Boyd 2003: 152).
• Randall's editorial practice was aesthetically-oriented, rather than politically-oriented, at least in Randall's own account of it: "I believe that a poet has the right to write as he or she wants to write and not as they are told. As long as the poetry moved me or other people, it could be published. I would accept poets on whether or not I liked their poetry, not so much on their political stances but on what I thought was their ability as poets" (quoted in Boyd 2003: 242; cited in Buck 2017: 22n.12).
• "In February of 1967, several // months before "For Malcolm" would actually appear, the Detroit branch of the Social Workers Party hosted a Friday Night Socialist Forum memorializing Malcolm X [George Breitman. "Myths about Malcolm X: A Speech (March 1967)." "International Socialist Review" 28.5 (Sept.-Oct. 1967): 43-60; repr. in "Marxist Internet Archive" 2 Feb. 2006. Web]. Dudley Randall brought a group of poets to read from "For Malcolm"" at the Friday Night Socialist Forum, over the next few weeks, there would be a debate over the character and meaning of Malcolm X's politics at the end of his life, evidencing the confused and disputed legacy left after his death—and that continues to the present, as evidenced by Manning Marable's "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention" (2011) and the retort to it in "A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable's Malcolm X" (edited by Jared A. Ball and Todd Steven Burroughs, 2012) (Buck 2017: 37-38).
• ""For Malcolm: Poetry on the Life and Death of Malcolm X" appeared at a politically volatile juncture in history—in Detroit in June of 1967, just a month before the historic 1967 riots, or Great Rebellion [five days of street violence beginning on 23 July 1967]" (Buck 2017: 21).
• Something of Randall's outlook in 1967—and another crucial context for the anthology—is evident in his remarks about the Detroit riots of July 1967, in a letter to Etheridge Knight (Randall "lived on the west side of Detroit and not far from the site of the rebellion"): "I've owed you a letter for a long time. Partly my delay was because of this publishing project ["For Malcolm: Poems on the Life and Death of Malcolm X"]. There's so much clerical work that I don't have time for writing. And partly it was because of the recent events, when I too stayed by the radio & television, & read current newspapers & magazines. There was no harm done to me or my family, although there were a few anxious nights when there were rumors that they would get the 'rich black folks.' I never thought it was a crime to have a job.
"I don't know how this will turn out. The uprising has focused attention on the ghettoes. I hope that efforts will be made to eradicate the roots of the problem. On the other hand, many whites have been polarized to advocate repression, blind & brutal. I hope the sensible ones prevail. All little people like you and me can do is to support the sensible ones. And write sincerely what we feel. One wants to write with assurance that he knows all the answers, but one can write out of uncertainty and it'll be more sincere" (quoted in Melba Joyce Boyd. "The Problem Was the Police." "Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies". Ed. Joel Stone. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 2017. page? [no pag. in Google Books preview].
Boyd adds, however, that, "Despite Randall's initial reactions of uncertainty, in the aftermath of the rebellion, the opening of his article 'The Second Black Arts Convention in Detroit' for "Negro Digest" in November 1967 was more reflective and definitive: 'Weeks before the rebellion erupted in the "city of motors," the simmering mood of disgust and outrage which characterized the mood of many black people was in open evidence in the city.' Randall's poem 'Sniper,' printed in "More to Remember", was even more direct. In three succinct lines, he makes a personal statement about armed resistance: 'Somewhere / On a rooftop / You fight for me.'" (Boyd 2017: page?).
• "The year after '"The Autobiography" ["of Malcolm X"]' was published one of the earliest 'popular' anthologies containing the 'new' black poetry debuted. "For Malcolm: poems on the life and death of Malcolm X" [sic] (1967) edited by Dudley Randall ["sic" and Margaret Burroughs] and published by Broadside was widely read on college and university campuses by students who heretofore had no interest in reading poetry. Moreover, the poetry itself represented the shift in point of view from Civil Rights to Black Power, from the hghly visible demand for participation in the mainstream to grassroots commitment to autonomy and cultural nationalism espoused by painters, poets and musicians" (Ralph DeWitt Story. "Master Players in a Fixed Game: An Extra-Literary History of Twentieth-Century African-American Authors." "" 2001. 131. [Google Books preview]).
• "One year later, in 1969, two of [Larry] Neal's Black Arts comrades, Dudley Randall and Margaret G. Burroughs, released the first ["sic", actually second] edition of a collection of poems dedicated to Malcolm X—"For Malcolm: Poems on the Life and Death of Malcolm X" [first ed. 1967]. This text was conceived in April 1966 at the Fisk University Writers' Conference. Randall and Burroughs recall that after '[h]earing Margaret Walker read her poem on Malcolm X [at the conference] . . . we were reminded of the great number of poems that had been written in his memory, and we decided to make a selection from them and to publish it'" (Christel N. Temple. "Literary Malcolm X: The Making of an African American Ancestor." "Malcolm X: A Historical Reader". Ed. James L. Conyers and Andrew P. Smallwood. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2008. 170).
• de Jongh (1990): "The assassination of Malcolm X inspired a number of poems, collected by Dudley Randall and Margaret G. Burroughs in "For Malcolm: Poems on the Life and Death of Malcolm X" (1967), many of which associate Malcolm X with the motif of black Harlem. Larry Neal's 'Malcolm X—An Autobiography' makes Harlem pivotal in the transformations by which Malcolm Little evolves into Malcolm X. . . . Raymond R. Patterson's 'At That Moment,' perahps the most powerful of the poems in "For Malcolm", depicts the death of Malcolm as a liberating baptism of Harlem. . . ." (James de Jongh. "Vicious Modernism: Black Harlem and the Literary Imagination". Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1990. 150-51)
• Boyd (2003): "the book combines the insight and skill of the older generation of poets with the militant momentum of the burgeoning Black Arts Movement. It also includes white poets and black poets who were not ideologically aligned with either side of the aesthetic argument" (Boyd 2003: 142). Given the supplementary materials the poetry anthology contains—the short biography of Malcolm X, the editors' introduction, the preface and eulogy by Ossie Davis, the bibliography of "Further Reading" about Malcolm X, and the phots and biographical sketches of the poets included in the anthology, "the book is more than a collection of poems written in tribute to the man. It is also a cultural, historical, and educational guide for readers" (Boyd 2003: 143). "The divergent political perspectives and broad range of literary styles that characterized the anthology foreshadowed the profiles of future Broadside authors" (Boyd 2003: 143).
• Rambsy (2004): "by highlighting the range of poets and poetic styles included in their book, the editors of "For Malcolm" emphasized the existence of a diverse or multi-colored Blackness operating within the body of African American poetry" (Rambsy 2004: 181).
• James E. Smethurst, in "The Black Arts Movement" (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina, 2005), argues that "Broadside Press's "For Malcolm", a poetic tribute to slain leader Malcolm X, as a more accurate reflection of the national movement than Baraka and Neal's oft-cited "Black Fire". Unlike the latter anthology, "For Malcolm" recruited poets from around the country and featured Black and white, male and female, young and middle-aged writers, all of whom shared a 'militant, nationalist stance' (223). Smethurst's centering a text that defies the conventional wisdom that the Black Arts Movement was young, Black and predominantly male speaks to his larger point, which is that the movement's eclecticism defied its own ideological pronouncements" (Cynthia A. Young. "Black Arts for Liberation." Rev. of "The Black Arts Movement", by James E. Smethurst. "Against the Current" [Detroit] 21.6 [Jan.-Feb. 2007]: 27-28. "ProQuest").
• Derik Smith (2010) characterizes "For Malcolm" as "a text that was conceived in the Fisk conferences, became one of the movement's significant collections, and helped bring to life its most prolific publishing house" (452)—but Smith misidentifies the anthology as a "1969 volume" (457) and also refers to it as "critically neglected" (458). Despite the earlier reference to the anthology being "conceived in the Fisk "conferences"" (emphasis added), Smith states later that the "compilation took seed in the [1966] conference" (Smith 2010: 458).
• Marie Buck (2017) views "For Malcolm" as a work that did not arise "directly out of [a] social movemen[t]": "Some of the writers there [in the anthology] were no doubt politically active, but Dudley Randall, coeditor of the book and publisher of Broadside Press, was fairly apolitical and an outlier in the Black Arts Movement. However, the chief question that the book raises is precisely how to spur a political legacy in the wake of Malcolm X's death, and its poems are quite overtly 'about' politics, and are often about the relationship between the aesthetic and the political" (Buck 2017: 3n.3). "Writers in "For Malcolm" cannot conceive of a future for Malcolm X's legacy, though as those writers wrote the Black Panther Party was forming in the Bay area" (Buck 2017: 9). The gap between "consciousness" and organized political activity was noted by Amiri Barka shortly after Malcolm X's death: "Malcolm's greatest contribution was to preach Black Consciousness to the Black Man. Now we must find the flesh of our spiritual creation" (quoted in Buck 2017: 42). But this gap could lead to divergence between art/culture and politics, just as much as it could lead to convergence: e.g., Stokely Carmichael was already insisting in 1966, "We have to say, 'Don't play jive and start writing poems after Malcolm is short.' We have to move from the point where the man left off and stop writing poems" (quoted in Buck 2017: 42). Buck seems to view the contributors to this anthology as committed to the idea of "spurring a political legacy," but it's not clear that either these poets—or various political activists—see poetry as having this kind of activist destination.
• ""For Malcolm" indicates the mood—an orientation toward Black collectivity—that Malcolm X left when he died," but the anthology can only present a textual "version of collectivity" and perhaps help stimulate a desire for an actual social collectivity, but it is not itself such a collectivity: there is an inescapable gap between "an imagined collectivity and practical organization" (Buck 2017: 30-31). "Malcolm X left a confusing and mixed legacy for his supporters, and the question that circulates throughout "For Malcolm" is 'now that Malcolm X is gone, what do we do?'" (Buck 2017: 36). *Note:* This notion that the poets writing tributes to Malcolm X were "supporters" of his or would-be activists looking to take action makes a stronger claim than that voiced by Ossie Davis in his preface: Davis writes that black people saw in Malcolm X an important symbol of black manhood—even though most of them were critical of the particular positions and agendas he stood for. Buck herself notes this (26), and she develops the point as well: "most of the people who admired Malcolm X had never "followed" his politics, exactly. Malcolm X projected a vision of a Black collectivity that did not exist in any organizational structure" (Buck 2017: 36). But why "Black collectivity" rather than "Black manhood" (as Davis and the editors of the anthology put it)? Buck also offers a reading of passages in Eldrige Cleaver's discussion of Malcolm X in "Soul on Ice" (1968) as suggesting that Malcolm X "signified a Black collectivity," although, again, it seems more natural to read Cleaver's references to the "mute ambitions in the black man's soul" and "the awakening of twenty million Negroes" as referring to the new black consciousness, the newly assertive embrace of one's own "black manhood" (or personhood)—which may carry both individual and collective implications, but which is hardly tied to a notion of "Black collectivity."
• "the drama of "For Malcolm" turns on the process of conversion: the disruption of skepticism about Malcolm X's espoused politics and the acceptance of the instance of Black collectivity that Malcolm X symbolized and spread" (Buck 2017: 45). Theodore Horne's "There's Fire (For February 21)" expresses "ambivalence about the entire project of the Black Power Movement. This skepticism is typical of the poems in "For Malcolm" . . ." (Buck 2017: 47). "Over and over, writers articulate their disagreement with Malcolm X's politics and simultaneous, illogical attraction to him" (Buck 2017: 48). In "For Malcolm", African Americans are solicited "to give up their reliance on the notion of a rational public sphere [politics], in which it makes sense to keep one's distance from Malcolm X if you disagree with some of his views, and open themselves up to contagious political affect, to the sense of Black collectivity that Malcolm X supernaturally inspired" (Buck 2017: 52). The turn or conversion the poems in "For Malcolm" are concerned with is "the turn, via the figure of Malcolm X, to the Black Arts Movement and to Black Power" (Buck 2017: 54).
• This anthology "was simultaneously central and peripheral to the [Black Arts] movement. It included canonical Black Arts poets LeRoi Jones, Gwendolyn Brooks, Etheridge Knight, Mari Evans, and Sonia Sanchez, and it was based out of Detroit, a center of Black culture in the 1960s. But in addition to canonical Black Arts poets, the anthology includes several white poets and a few Black poets who actively resisted Black Arts aesthetics, like Robert Hayden and Conrad Kent Rivers. And despite creating one of the first and most key presses of the Black Arts Movement, Randall was fundamentally opposed to one of the unifying // threads of the movement—the idea that aesthetic concerns flowed from political concerns, rather than the reverse" (Buck 2017: 21-22).
• Although Marie Buck (2017) points to Michelle Wallace's "Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman" (1979) and its critique of the male chauvinist and patriarchal politics of the Black Power and black consciousness movements associated with the iconic figure of Malcolm X (Buck 2017: 26-28), and although Buck emphasizes, in the anthology editors' introduction and in Ossie Davis's preface and eulogy, a preponderant emphasis on Malcolm X as an embodiment of and assertion of "black manhood" (Buck 2017: 24-26), she nonetheless argues counter-intuitively that the "near-obsessive references to masculinity in "For Malcolm" do not function to valorize masculinity or patriarchy, as one might expect. Instead, the poets here deploy a series of white supremacist constructions of black masculinity—black masculinity as threatening, as contagious, as reproductive, as transferable—as a metaphor for communicability. The poets both depict Black collectivity spreading and, in an extra-diegetic leap, incite the reader to catch the sense of collectivity that Malcom X sparked. Where we might expect contagiousness to function as a metaphor for sexuality, sexuality functions as a metaphor for contagiousness. Ultimately, Black masculinity is a useful metaphor for the poets becuase it enables them to project a vision of a Black collectivity that is based on embodied presence" (Buck 2017: 22).
"While poem after poem focuses on Malcolm's masculinity, masculinity here is not an end in itself. Instead, the poets of "For Malcolm" deploy sexuality as a strategic metaphor for communicability—the communicability of revolutionary political affect. That is, these poems "are" about masculinity at one level, but the true topic is contagiousness. Black masculinity is relevant here because it has been figured as a contagion within white supremacy. The "For Malcolm" authors redeploy this association as a means to speculate on contagiousness and how a group can build power" (Buck 2017: 29).
"Sexuality here is embodiment and contagion, and the best political subjects are those who are // open to this embodiment and contagion—those most receptive. In "For Malcolm", then, the idealized political subject is not the patriarch figure, but the person who is most open to a transferable collective mood, a distinctly feminized figure" (Buck 2017: 31-32). This claim is developed through a rather willful reading of Gwendolyn Brooks's "Malcolm X," the work that opens the volume's selction of poetry (Buck 2017: 32-35). Buck views Amiri Baraka's "A Poem for Black Hearts" as indeed expressing the masculinist ideology described by Philip Brian Harper in relation to the Black Arts Movement more generally—"While the canonical poems of the Black Arts Movement make clear that the white establishment is the enemy, they do "not" generally articulate a political path forward, subsituting instead a division between a masculine, and properly Black "I" and a "you" that is accused of not being properly masculine or properly Black [see Harper, "Are We Not Men? Masculine Anxiety and the Problem of African American Identity" (1998), 41-53]" (Buck 2017: 39)—but she sees the poem as "an outlier" in "For Malcolm", and contrasts it with two poems by Theodore Horne and one by Raymond Patterson in the anthology (Buck 2017: 40ff.).
• Ossie Davis's eulogy for Malcolm X underlines the shift in identity from "Negro" to "Afro-American" that Malcolm X called for—and the discourse of the poems in this anthology reflects this shift. But the anthology marginalizes the final shift in Malcolm X's own identity (from Malcolm X to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz), with only a few poems acknowledging this last turn (Robert Hayden's "El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz" Bobb Hamilton's "For Malik" and Carmin Auld Goulbourne's "Letter for El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz"). (So, too, the US postage stamp issued in 1999 honors "Malcolm X," while acknowledging in small lettering his self-chosen final name of "El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.")  Davis's eulogy invokes the shift in perspective implied by this last change of name and identity ("Last year, from Africa, he wrote these words to a friend: 'My journey,' he says, 'is almost ended, and I have a much broader scope than when I started out, which I believe will add new life and dimension to our struggle for freedom and honor and dignity in the States'"), and calls for unity in the wake of his death—howevermuch "we may have differed with him—or with each other about him and his value as a man." But Davis also participates in the appropriation of this iconic figure as whatever "we" need him to be by imagining him, at the conclusion of his eulogy, as a Christ-like figure, "who didn't hesitate to die, because he loved us so."
For the most part, the poems in the anthology view "Malcolm" either as an "Afro-American" prophet (whose jeremiad denounces white supremacy and the pusallinimity of "Negroes") or as a regenerative Christ-like god-whose-death-gives-life-to-others. In either case, they view him not as a individual life, but as a public figure, whose death is a public event that carries significance for "his people." What that significance is may be variously interpreted, but the engagement with this interpretive issue gives a unity of purpose—a shared problematic—to the contents of this anthology that is rare—most anthologies self-consciously embracing the miscellaniety of their contents, or, at most, a shared theme or topic (rather than a shared interpretive burden). Nonetheless, there is variety enough in ways of taking up this burden among the poets collected that the editors are able to offer their own interpretive framework by grouping the poems into sections on "The Life," "The Death," "The Rage," and "The Aftermath." The anthology itself stands in this last place—looking out to the unknown future (a future, a fifty-year chunk of which is now the past for us in our time): few of the poets take on the role of prophet about the future-to-come, but their reflections now serve as a kind of time capsule of what the present-and-future looked and felt like in 1966 to these writers.
A critical study of the anthology would situate the poems about Malcolm X that it collects in relation to the wider field of poems about Malcolm X, examining poems written about Malcolm X "before" his death with those written "after" those collected in this volume with those that appeared "after" "it" (and perhaps in response to it); those collected here and those published elsewhere in the same moment after the death of Malcolm X and not included in the volume. So, too, it might examine the poetic responses to Malcolm X with the responses published in prose. And finally, it might examine this collection of poems about Malcolm X with any other collections of poems about Malcolm published elsewhere (maybe not a whole anthology, but a section of an anthology or a "cluster" in a periodical or magazine or maybe not grouped together as a cluster, but dispersed throughout an anthology). (See "Black Fire" (1968) and "SOS—Calling All Black People" (2014) as two examples to consider in this regard.)

See also

• Broadside Press Collection (1965-1984). Special Collections and Archives. U of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries. Web .
• Dudley Randall Broadside Press Collection. U of Detroit Mercy Special Collections. Web.
• "SOS—Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader", ed. John H. Bracey, Jr., Sonia Sanchez, and James Smethurst (Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2014): This anthology also includes a section of poems on "Malcolm" (as well as Ossie Davis's "Eulogy for Malcolm X"). [see below]
• Ossie Davis's eulogy, originally published in "Negro Digest",  was included in various other collections about Malcolm X, including:
• • "Malcolm X: The Man and His Times". Ed. A. Peter Bailey, Earl Grant, and John Henrik Clarke. New York: Collier Books, 1969. xxiv+360 pp.
Contents: Our shining black prince (eulogy) / Ossie Davis -- Introduction / John Henrik Clarke -- PART I. MALCOLM X, THE MAN IN RETROSPECT -- Meaning of Malcolm X / C. Eric Lincoln -- Myths about Malcolm X / Reverend Albert Cleage -- Leadership: triumph in leadership tragedy / Charles E. Wilson -- Malcolm X and the black revolution: the tragedy of a dream deferred / W. Keorapetse Kgositsile -- Influence of Malcolm X on the political consciousness of black Americans / James Boggs -- Malcolm X, our revolutionary son and brother / Patricia Robinson -- Nothing but a man / Wyatt Tee Walker -- Islam as a pastoral in the life of Malcolm X / Abdelwahab M. Elmessiri -- PART II. MALCOLM X AT CLOSE RANGE -- PERSONAL VIEWS -- Last days of Malcolm X / Earl Grant -- Malcolm X and the press / Art Sears, Jr. -- Malcolm X: the apostle of defiance -- an African view / Mburumba Kerina -- Malcolm X: the minutes of our last meeting / Gordon Parks -- Beginning, not the end / Shirley Graham Dubois -- Why I eulogized Malcolm X / Ossie Davis -- Malcolm X as a husband and father / Betty Shabazz -- PART III. DIALOGUES WITH MALCOLM X -- Where is the American negro headed? ("OPEN MIND" -- A TV PANEL) -- Malcolm X talks with Kenneth B. Clark -- Visit from the FBI -- Telephone conversation -- PART IV. MALCOLM X ABROAD -- Malcolm X in Ghana / Leslie Alexander Lacy -- Malcolm X in Europe / Lebert Bethune -- Malcolm X: an international man / Ruby M. and E.U. Essien-Udom -- PART V. MALCOLM X IN HIS OWN WORDS -- Definition of a revolution -- God's judgment of white America -- Speech to African Summit Conference -- Cairo, Egypt -- Second African Summit Conference -- Racism: the cancer that is destroying America -- Communication and reality -- Some reflections on "negro history week" and the role of the black people in history -- PART IV. APPENDIX -- Organization of Afro-American unity: a statement of basic aims and objectives -- Outline for petition to the United Nations charging genocide against 22 million black Americans -- Selected bibliography of books and articles relating to the life of Malcolm X / A. Peter Bailey.
• • "Music and Dialogue from the Original Soundtrack of the Motion Picture "Malcolm X"". New York: Warner Bros., 1972. Compact disc.
Contents: Nigger -- Black roots -- You're a nigger, Malcolm --Hustler, prison conversion -- American nightmare --Who taught you to hate yourself? -- Hajj -- Africa --Assassination -- Reactions/Street interviews --Eulogy/Ossie Davis.
• • "The Autobiography of Malcolm X".  As told to Alex Haley. New York: Ballantine Books, 1973.

• Strong, Williams, and Carline Evone. "Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs: Educator, Artist, Author, Founder, and Civic Leader." Diss. Loyola University of Chicago, 1994. "ProQuest Dissertations".
• Dyson, Michael Eric. "Making Malcolm: The Myth & Meaning of Malcolm X". New York: Oxford UP, 1995.
• Thompson, Julius E. "Dudley Randall, Broadside Press, and the Black Arts Movement in Detroit, 1960-1995". Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1999.
• Boyd, Melba Joyce. "Wrestling with the Muse: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press". New York: Columbia UP, 2003.
• Rambsy, Howard, II. "Understanding the 'New' African American Anthologies." In "The New Black Poetry: Its Origins, Poetics, Technical Production, and Criticism." Diss. Pennsylvania State University, 2004. 176-92. "ProQuest Dissertations".
• Samuels, Wilfred D. "Broadside Press." "Encyclopedia of African-American Literature". Ed. Wilfred D. Samuels. New York: Facts on File, 2007; 2nd ed. 2013.
• McLaren, Joseph. "Malcolm-esque: A Black Arts Literay Genre." "Malcolm X's Michigan Worldview: An Exemplar for Contemporary Black Studies". Ed. Rita Kiki Edozie and Curtis Stokes. East Lansing: Michigan State UP, 2015. 101-16. "JSTOR".
• Smith, Derik. "Quarreling in the Movement: Robert Hayden's Black Arts Era." "Callaloo" 33.2 (2010): 449-66. "JSTOR". (Offers a reading of Hayden's contribution to this anthology that suggests the challenge the poem poses to the black nationalist celebrations of "Malcolm X" by counterposing to this the "universalist" outlook adopted by the hero after his conversion to orthodox Islam and adoption of the name "El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.") (This essay covers ground addressed in Smith's dissertation, "Love's Lonely Office: Robert Hayden and the African-American Literary Tradition" [Northwestern, 2004] in a section titled "Hayden's Malcolm," pp. 61-72.)
• Cunningham, Nijah Noel. "A Haunting Refrain: Time, Aesthetics, and the Afterlives of Black Radicalism." CUNY Africana Forum. 5 Nov. 2015. Web.
• Buck, Marie. ""For Malcolm" and Embodied Collectivity in the Black Arts Movement." In "Weird Propaganda: Texts of the Black Power and Women's Liberation Movements." Diss. Wayne State University, 2017. 21-63. "ProQuest Dissertations".

• Some poems from this anthology were reprinted in the anthology "Black Poetry" (1969)

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• [not in Kinnamon 1997]

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Black Poetry: A Supplement to Anthologies Which Exclude Black Poets See also Bibliographic Resource