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Sure, he’d gone the wrong way a couple of times in his life and there was a time when I probably should have feared Malcolm. But in the end, he was a brave, good man who had the ability to grow and change. After being as low as you could go, he was saved in prison by turning to religion through the Nation of Islam. Later, that became his prison and he had to break free again. He went to Mecca and had that huge transformation and admitted he was wrong, that we shouldn’t segregate by color. Then to have him return to America and shortly thereafter be gunned down and silenced, I think did a terrible disservice to humanity. I was wrestling in Atlanta when I first read The Auto biography of Malcolm X. I remember I was so moved by it, that I went out and bought one of those beautiful ball caps that had the “X” on it, standing for Malcolm X. I would wear that hat while taking the train downtown to the TV studio. Of course, it’s predominantly black people that ride the rail in Atlanta. They’d kind of give me a double-take, like they didn’t know what to think. As Jesse the Body, I could get away with it. People knew I could take the most bizarre positions and make them look normal. But I’d always chuckle to myself to watch the reaction of black people seeing this big white guy wearing a Malcolm X cap. I often sat and thought, do they think I’m just naïve and stupid? Or do they maybe think I know and understand, and there’s a reason I’m wearing it? Because I’m a bit of a revolutionary myself, who can relate to him, in a humble way. Malcolm X was only 39 when he died in a hail of shotgun and pistol fire, executed inside the Audubon Ballroom after giving a speech in Harlem. Clearly, by some of the things he said in the last month or so of his life, Malcolm knew it was inevitable. He told Alex Haley, who worked with him on the autobiography, that he didn’t believe he’d live to see the book published. And he didn’t. He was murdered on February 21, 1965, only a little more than a year after JFK’s assassination. Since the gunmen were all part of the Black Muslims, and loyal followers of Elijah Muhammad, it was pretty much accepted that Malcolm X was the victim of a bitter feud between the two leaders. Today, we know that what happened on that Sunday afternoon was a whole lot bigger than that.2 After his pilgrimage to Mecca, Malcolm was no longer preaching what some had called his “message of hate.” He’d already broken away from Elijah Muhammad, who was an advocate for a separate black state. He was forming alliances with revolutionary leaders in Africa and elsewhere—even making friends with Che Guevara, another of my heroes—and talking about civil rights as a human rights issue that the United Nations should take up. It looked like

Profile for HAROLD ARROYO, JR.

AMERICAN CONSPIRACIES, LIES AND DECEPTION FROM THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, JESSE VENTURA  

AMERICAN CONSPIRACIES, LIES AND DECEPTION FROM THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, JESSE VENTURA  

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