Monday, December 9, 2013

Education Appreciation: By Any Means Necessary

By Any Means Necessary

This iconic phrase uttered by Malcolm X -- help solidified his revolutionary street cred -- has more meaning than the conventionally accepted interpretation.

Many black militants and revolutionaries of the Sixties equated this quote to that of American revolutionary Patrick Henry's quote:

Give me liberty or Give me death.

In other words, both quotes convey an urgency to fight for one's freedom and liberty at any cost. All options, including violent self-defense, are on the table.

As Malcolm iterated:

We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.

But a more probing understanding of the quote can be extracted by keying into the key word, necessary. As we know, necessity (circumstance) is the mother of invention. To be clear, we develop new ideas, techniques, technologies by fulfilling needs.

The needs defines the actions.

No doubt about it, the cruel and inhuman treatment of blacks during slave years required a war to bring blacks full emancipation. Southern whites had no intention of ending this peculiar institution without a fight.

And the rest is history.

As for the dynamics of the civil rights movement of the 1960's: Blacks (and white allies) endured home, church and freedom bus burnings and bombs; dogs and fire hoses; targeted assassinations and assassination attempts; terrorist group agitations (KKK and other hate groups); and, state sponsored violence.

To many civil rights fighters -- excluding Dr. King's non-violent movement -- violence for self-defense was on the menu. For some, it was used as a tactical ether or. Either you negotiate in good faith with Dr. King and his non-violent movement or you face the wrath of the militant wing of the civil rights struggle.

Powers to be selected to deal with King (until he became an early spokesman for the anti-Vietnam war movement).

By any means necessary in the 21st century.

Racism both overt and institutional -- despite major gains -- is not Gone With the Wind. We will never change the heart of those committed to white supremacy and hatred. As the post-Obama world learned: Tea Party, GOP and their neo-Confederate allies are on their job 24/7.

Consequently, our for profit prisons are filled with black and brown bodies. Hate radio and TV are posting sky high ratings. And Urban America is filled with raisins in the sun -- dreams deferred (poem by Langston Hughes):

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Power of education.
The weapon of choice to break the last vestiges of slavery: Education.

Beginning with knowledge of self (history not His-story) and moving into knowledge of art, science, math, business, economics and technology will remove the shackles on our mind. 
No marches, no boycotts, no sit-ins, no chants, no slogans, no charismatic leader, no poverty pimp, no sermon, no televised summit will do the job. 
Education appreciation -- as unglamorous as it sounds -- is the mean necessary. As historian John Henrik Clarke states:
Powerful people cannot afford
to educate the people that they oppress,
because once you are truly educated,
you will not ask for power.
You will take it


  1. Great post. It is really something to see people who embrace and revere defensive or revolutionary violence suddenly become apostles of non-violence...for black people.

  2. Shady...thanx for the comment...I agree 100% with ur POV...we have just as much right to fight and revolt for our freedom as anyone. True this time I do not want us to overlook an even more powerful weapon too many of us have overlooked: Education -- Know the true and it shall set you free!