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CITY ARTS : Ideas of Malcolm X

March 21, 1993|DUKE HELFAND

His rhetoric was militant: He often condemned the "white man's Christian world" as evil and he rejected integration. Although many Establishment leaders feared his influence, many poor African-Americans found inspiration in his separatist call for economic and political empowerment.

Yet in the last year of his life, after a pilgrimage to Mecca, Malcolm X was said to have embraced the idea that blacks and whites could work together. On Saturday, the Pathfinder Bookstore will try to shed light on the controversial leader's political development. Speakers, including playwright Frank Greenwood and author Piri Thomas, will read from two recently published books of his speeches and writings.

"We want people to have access to Malcolm's ideas," store manager Barry Fatland said. "Our role is to put his ideas into people's hands and let them make up their own minds."

"February 1965, The Final Speeches" compiles some never-before published speeches and interviews from the three weeks before Malcolm X was assassinated on Feb. 21, 1965. And "Habla Malcolm X, Discursos, Entrevistas y Declaraciones" offers a Spanish translation of many of the black leader's speeches and interviews.

"I am a Muslim and I believe in Islam, which means peace, but I do not believe that I may not protect myself," he said in one of the speeches from "February 1965." "If we strike back, it is only intelligent self-defense. A racist speaks in brute force; we must reply in the same language; there will be more communication and understanding if we do."

Pathfinder Bookstore, 2546-C W. Pico Blvd., will celebrate the publication of two new books of speeches of Malcolm X on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. A $4 donation is suggested. Information: (213) 380-9460.

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