What is there to say in a eulogy for Malcolm X?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that quite a bit can be said about Malcolm X in a eulogy.  I would examine Ossie Davis' eulogy of Malcolm X that was read at his funeral in 1965.  It is a masterful work of literature and speaks to all the things that Malcolm represented to all of us.

One thing that could be specifically mentioned in an eulogy about Malcolm X was his enduring quality of change.  Malcolm X represented that individuals, human beings, can change.  We live in a world in which people believe some of the worst about fellow human beings.  We see those who commit terrible acts and immediately condemn them without considering that there can be change.  

Yet, individuals can change and one of the elements that defines Malcolm X is how he changed.  His entire life is a testament to the reality that human beings can change.  From forlorn child to numbers runner to small time criminal to minister to pure devotee of Allah, Malcolm's life is the trajectory of change.  It is the embodiment of how a human being's work in this life is simply to embrace change.  It is life possessing a life of its own.  When we look at child who does terrible things, when we see wayward people lost on their own path, and when we experience individuals who are struggling to find their voice, we are reminded that these people, too, are Malcolm X for he was them.  Within them could exist the voice of transformative history that depicts how things are only to show us how things could and should be.  Within them could be the next "Brother Malcolm."  This point could be made in a eulogy about Malcolm X and his legacy in today's world.

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