Newly-Discovered Recordings Shed Light on a Young Malcolm X

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Malcolm X in Harlem in the early 1960s (Photo by Larry Fink)

In 1961 Malcolm X came to Brown University to publicly rebut an article published in the school newspaper that criticized the Nation of Islam. Fast-forward to 2011. A Brown University student was assigned to create a historical narrative using anything in the school library and stumbled across one of the oldest recordings of Malcolm X in existence, heard by virtually no one since its initial taping.

Malcolm Burnley and Katharine Pierce join The Takeaway to talk about the twists and turns that brought this rare recording to the public. Katherine Pierce wrote the article that first attracted Malcolm X's attention, and Malcolm Burnley is the student who found it.


Malcolm Burnley and Katharine Pierce

Produced by:

John Light and Kristen Meinzer

Comments [2]

Jill from Boston

This was a very interesting piece! I believe that my father, a civil rights attorney, and founder of the RI Affiliate of the ACLU in 1959 (now 91 years old), was in that audience at Brown in 1961. I remember as a child, seeing many times, a torn piece of paper with Malcolm X's autograph, stuck in a photo album for safe keeping, and recall my Dad telling me that he had met Malcolm X at Brown, and was very impressed by him.
Hearing this story this morning, makes me wonder if this was THE speech that my father attended.
Unfortunately, my father has alzheimers, and sadly, it is at a stage where he would more than likely, be unable to remember.
As I often think about my father's legacy, I feel very warmed by thoughts about how inspired he was in his own work, by activists such as Malcolm X, MLK and many others. My guess is that witnessing this particular speech was a very inspirational "moment" for my Dad in his future work, and for so many others as well.

Thank you for the gift of this story, and how it has triggered many wonderful, proud memories for me.

Feb. 07 2012 01:56 PM
laura edwards from WGBH

So glad to hear it for myself. His style is unmistakable. There's been no one like him since. The truth in the message is loud and clear! Thank you so much for airing this.

Feb. 07 2012 01:53 PM

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