Op-Ed:  Keeping Malcolm X alive

 Keeping Malcolm X alive

Private house, Palmer Street at Bulls Road, Compton, 1998

(Camilo J. Vergara)

In the pantheon of heroes painted on the walls of South Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and New York, Malcolm X is a stern, somewhat ghostly presence. He’s there, but not as frequently as the sunnier examples of civil rights leadership: Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. He points a finger, frowns over his serious glasses and seems to repeat his famous line: “By any means necessary.”

This harsh prophet, assassinated before he was 40, was born 90 years ago today.

Camilo José Vergara’s photographic archive is housed in the Library of Congress in Washington. He is the first photographer to receive the U.S. National Humanities Medal. His latest book is “His latest book is “Harlem: The Unmaking of a Ghetto."

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