Ben Crump, Attorney for Malcolm X’s Family: “We Refuse to Let Anybody Exterminate Black History”
Written by GRB on 20/05/2023
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.
We continue to look at the life and legacy of Malcolm X, born 98 years ago today, as we turn to civil rights attorney Ben Crump, representing Malcolm’s family in a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the FBI, the CIA, New York City and state, and the New York police, as well as the District Attorney’s Office, for concealing evidence of their involvement in Malcolm X’s 1965 assassination. Three men were convicted of his murder, two of them fully exonerated in 2021. Ben Crump spoke on February 21st at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, housed in the former Audubon Ballroom, where Malcolm was shot dead on that day in 1965.
BENJAMIN CRUMP: I think, “What would have come of Malcolm, had they not, 58 years ago, on this day, assassinated one of the greatest thought leaders that was ever produced in the 21st century?” How much more Malcolm had to give the world? And I often think about that, Dr. Davis, when I think about Trayvon: What would have come of 17-year-old Trayvon, had he not been shot in the heart by some wannabe cop? What would have become, Marc, Breonna Taylor, this queen who was just two semesters from getting her college degree, being a nurse, but she was executed with nine bullets in her home while she was practically naked? What would have become of Botham Jean, young Black man who was in his own apartment, minding his own business, when this white policewoman came and shot him while he was eating ice cream and watching TV? And then she had the audacity to say, Gina, “Self-defense. It was self-defense.” But, Tamara, it wasn’t her house. It was Botham’s house. And so, we have to continue to stand up, speak up and fight for our children and our loved ones, because if we don’t fight for our children and our loved ones, we can’t expect nobody else to fight for our children and loved ones.
And finally, finally, I think about the Shabazz Center and the objectives of trying to make sure we educate the future generations with the history that has been contributed, Rob, by our ancestors. And I am ever reminded — ever reminded — that we have to fight racism and discrimination, Dominique, wherever it rears its ugly head. And so, you know, all of those high-profile police cases we fight, there are other battles that are just as important, whether it’s medical racism with Henrietta Lacks, whether it’s the $100 million lawsuit filed on behalf of Malcolm X’s daughters, because we can never let them think that we will forget about Malcolm X. We will continue to fight every day.
And we have to fight those who would try to rob our children and all children of learning about Black history, like our governor in Florida, Ron DeSantis, who is trying to prohibit the teaching of Advanced Placement African American studies. And so, I am on record, Attorney O’Neill, if he does not capitulate and allow the teaching of Black history, we’re going to sue him. We are going to sue him, because, as Dr. Carter G. Woodson said, also known as the “father of Black history,” if a race does not have a history, if it has no traditions that are respected and taught to the young people, then it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world and becomes in danger of being exterminated. And we refuse to let Governor DeSantis exterminate Black history in Florida. We refuse to let anybody exterminate Black history in any state in the United States of America, because Black history is American history. And not only do Black children need to know about Black history, but white children especially need to know about Black history. And so, we will fight, because our children need to know that our history made this country what it is today.
AMY GOODMAN: That was civil rights attorney Ben Crump speaking on February 21st on the 58th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X at the Audubon Ballroom, now the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center.