Press release, signed at the top in blue ballpoint, “Bro Malcolm X,” headed “Malcolm X Supports Mississippi Challenge,” one page, 7.5 x 9.75, no date, but January 1965. Release reads, in full: “We applaud the efforts of James Farmer and the other civil rights groups to block the seating of the five illegal representatives from Mississippi when Congress convenes on January 4. We are pleased to see that Mr. Farmer and his civil rights colleagues are so dead earnest in backing the election challenges that have been initiated by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. As chairman of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, I want to state emphatically that we support all uncompromising efforts made by all well-meaning people to unseat the illegal representatives from the state of Mississippi and any other area where our people are denied the right to vote simply because they have been born with dark skin.
We also insist that since over 97 percent of the Black Americans supported Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Robert Kennedy, and the Democratic Party in the recent elections, which is the most overwhelming support given by any minority group to one party and its candidates, I am challenging Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, and Robert Kennedy, to declare exactly where they stand on the seating of these illegal representatives from Mississippi before January 4. And they should state their case.
We applaud the lead that has been taken by New York representative William Fitts Ryan in blocking the seating of these Mississippi congressmen, and the firm stand taken at his side by Adam Clayton Powell. Since Mayor Wagner will be in Harlem later this year to obtain the political support of our people in order to remain in City Hall, I challenge Mayor Wagner and his chief assistant, J. Jones, also to let nearly one and a half million Black Americans in New York City know where they stand on the plan to seat illegal representatives before January 4th.
I, for one, along with some friends, plan to be in Washington on January 4 as an observer. We wish to witness and record the stand taken by the so-called liberals, who are seekers of our people’s political support at poll time, for we plan to be 100 percent active in all political areas from 1965 onward.” Sheet is affixed to a slightly larger black scrapbook page. Scattered light toning and wrinkling from adhesive on reverse, otherwise fine condition.
After being publicly censured for his harsh comments on the assassination of President Kennedy, Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam to create his own platform, founding the Organization of Afro-American Unity in June of 1964: a decision that would prove fatal less than a year later. Pushing the OAAU’s agenda—securing the human rights of blacks—Malcolm X wrote this press release at the start of 1965 in support of the newly formed Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. When the Democratic Party excluded blacks from local meetings, made it nearly impossible to register by enforcing rigid ‘voting qualifications,’ and prohibited the repeal of any segregation laws on their platform in the 1964 elections, the MFDP formed to challenge them. Seeking recognition as an official delegation, they proposed to unseat five congressmen who they claimed were elected illegally because of the discriminatory practices. Although they were unsuccessful on that front, the pressure they placed on President Johnson led to the groundbreaking Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed the discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for their widespread disenfranchisement. Anything signed by Malcolm X is quite scarce and highly sought-after; this piece, written just six weeks before his assassination and focused on pressing Civil Rights issues, is one of the most interesting we have offered. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.