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(Many have requested that I rerun these two piece on Dr. William Walker and Malcolm X, Sometimes we run out of papers and many want to get columns as keepsakes etc. Your stories will return next week.)
Upon reading about the release of Thomas Hagan who is now 69, it brought a strange felling to my spirit. I didn’t know how to feel or what I am really feeling about it.
Thomas Hagan is one of the men who killed Human Rights Leader, Malcolm X, equally known as the Shining Prince. Many things came to my mind about Hagan, and the way Malcolm was killed.
I thought about how for many years he has been housed at the Lincoln Correctional Facility located at the intersection of West 110th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard. Every time he saw the street signs. I wonder what he was thinking.
I also thought about how he shot and killed Malcolm in front of his wife and children.
Other thoughts came to my mind like to this day and even before his release he continue to say that the other two men, Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Kahlil Islam, who were also convicted and sentenced for the murder of Malcolm X were not the two men who were with him during the killing. They too have been released.
I continued to wonder how for 22 years of his sentence, he was able to go to work, stay home with his family five days a week and do his time on the week end, after admitting and being convicted of murder, a violent crime.
Malcolm X while history simply deems him a civil-rights leader was a Black man, in Harlem who fell into the pitfalls of street life, went to jail where God set a new course for his life. He embraced that new life as well as Islam. Thus becoming, a Muslim with the Nation of Islam. He developed and evolved as a leader for Black people particularly for young Black people of the ’60s.
In his new course, Malcolm learned a self-love that he was able to spread to Black people all over the world, giving us all self-pride and dignity. Many loved his candor and fiery delivery of words that challenged and called out white America on its less than human treatment of Black people.
Malcolm’s voice was raised in a time where Black people were still being lynched and killed based on the color of their skin.
He also called us (Black people) out demanding that we stop shuffling, dancing and stand up to be men and women, and become good mothers and fathers. He became an Icon in Black communities all over America.
Hagan was the only one to admit to the killing of Malcolm in the 1965 assassination and was sentence to 20 years to life. Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Kahlil Islam were also sentenced for the murder. But as stated by all three of them, Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Kahlil Islam were not the two men who were with him when he killed Malcolm. Malcolm was killed at the Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom while giving a speech.
Malcolm had been sanction by the Nation of Islam for remarks he made during the death of President John F. Kennedy.
Other differences grew between him and the Nation of Islam, which caused Malcolm to leave the nation. But Malcolm did not quit being a servant nor did he surrender his love for Black people.
Many in the Nation of Islam didn’t favor Malcolm’s word about the leader of the Nation of Islam and this caused bad blood between them and Malcolm.
Of course, ya’ll have seen the movie, Malcolm X over the years. We learned that there was the hidden hand of the FBI and its director, J. Edger Hoover involvement in the killing of Malcolm.
I guess I really wonder what kind of man Hagan is now. He says that he was a young man who got caught up and did something that never should have happen.
I wonder how for 22 years, he was able to go to work stay home with his family five days a week and do his time on the weekends, after admitting and being convicted of murder, a violent crime.
I wonder if he thinks about that he killed someone who truly loved Black people.
A man that put his life on the line daily, fighting the world for our and his right to be treat as human beings with dignity. Again, I don’t know how I’m feeling about this.
It’s been 45 years, but while in prison Hagan earned a master’s degree in sociology. He described his role in the murder (in a 2008 court filing) as the deed of a young man who “acted out of rage, on impulse and loyalty” to religious leaders. He says he now understands better about himself and the politics of religion and a movement.
Many of Malcolm’s followers are expressing soft outraged and feeling a bit like me. Many are asking the question if Malcolm had been a white icon, would Hagan be out of jail.
As a reporter, I have a thousand questions for Hagan that I feel he probably will never answer but I would sure like to ask…
Again, I-Witness doesn’t know how she feels about this. I keep trying to put it in words. I sort of feel as if Hagan took something from me or that I lost something when he killed Malcolm.
I know in my heart, I don’t have the power to hate or punish but confusion isn’t a good thing either. God is not the author of these ills. And I would never want to get in trouble with my Creator.
But I wonder if Malcolm would say that Hagan’s transformation in prison just like his is a debt paid.
Is it enough that he has apologized, that he is trying to be a productive citizen in society today? Is it enough that he has a family that he is trying to love and do right by even though he took that away from Malcolm’s children. I wonder what he has told his children.
More and more I think I’m feeling as if I lost something. Sadness overcame me after I read about Hagan’s release. I don’t know if it is for me, Malcolm’s family, America or for Hagan.
Again, I asked myself how Malcolm would feel about Hagan’s release. It was then as if Malcolm was chatting with me. His voice seamed to appear in my head, as if he was giving me an interview.
“No need to feel sadness or lost. In my death, I have been able to touch and transform even more lives than I ever could have living. Yes, I miss and love all of you, especially, my children.
“But I am in every jail now providing hope, being introduced to every young Black man who has gotten caught up as young men like me and Hagan.
“I’m sure the failed educational centers and policies that continue to fail Black children throughout America are still the same but for the first time many young Black men in prisons are now learning how to read, through books about my life.
“The life I lived and my transformation to hope. Young Black men are learning about it through my books and audio speeches which are showing them that there is another way and redemption is real.
“I want young Black men to continue to let my life of transformation be their guide but let Allah the Creator be their judge, hope and salvation. If my death has changed just one life including Hagan, it was a death worth dying. Don’t worry about me, or be sad, have no fear or hate about that day, because I’m all right and I’m still helping to inspire, transform and change lives even in my death. May peace be on to you, my brothers and sisters…
Happy Birthday Malcolm!
I-Witness Black History Salutes
Midtown Medical Center
Dr. William Walker was a prominent doctor here in Milwaukee specializing in many of the diseases that affect the lives of Black people such as diabetes, hypertension, and many cancers especially in Black men. He had a vision to one day have a clinic in our community that would in-house specialty doctors, a lab, and do X-rays. A one stop medical center with total wrap around healthcare services that would be culturally sensitive to the people it served.
He often found a communication problem and the lack of a cultural understanding at other medical clinics as it related to the culture of Black people. These differences kept Black people from going to the doctor for illnesses until they had to go. And often it was too late especially for Black men.
His biggest thing was to teach and have Black people began to understand and practice preventive healthcare. He furthered wanted a place where there would be no barriers and folks would be treated with understanding, compassion and dignity. He was set on giving the medical clinic an attractive looking atmosphere to give that feel to patients that they were being treated richly like other clinics for the wealthy, instead of the pack them in welfare image.
Dr. Walker passed before he could see his vision and seeds planted. But that didn’t stop his vision. Many doctors like Dr. Lawrencin and others stepped up, picked up the torch and completed his dream.
His vision became a reality in what we know now as the Aurora UW Medical Group Midtown Medical Center.
Should you go to the Midtown Medical Center the conference room is dedicated to Dr. Walker.
With that bit of Milwaukee Black history, I just want to Holla-out to my doctors over at Aurora UW Medical Group at the Midtown Medical Center.
Talk about treating people with dignity and compassion, my doctors, Dr. Fisseha T. Ibsa , Dr. Todd H. Goodman and the new are gynecologist, Dr. Gatson are my Dr. Welbys.
Of course, I put up total resistance in the beginning to Dr. Ibsa when Dr. Lawrencin retired but I can tell ya’ll he has truly earned my respect.
It’s really important to a person to know that their doctors listen to them, show concern for them and sometimes know how to give them that tough love with compassion and understanding.
My doctors fit that mode. And ya’ll know I am not easy. Holla!
I know they are not doctors just in it for the money. They are decent human beings that truly care about human kind and they really make a difference in folk’s lives. Providing good preventive healthcare as well as being in the battle with you in a health crisis.
My doctors are the best but then they have a great support team at Midtown Medical Center. There’s Lavina Nance who greets everyone who enters the doors with a big smile and a Hello Mr. or Ms. Whoever. I think she knows everyone who comes through the doors personally. Holla!
Larika Johnson who is not only the medical receptionist, she is our fashion model. We get a different style out of her every month, from her hair to the wardrobe. Holla! She always wears a big smile. Then there is Carla Keyes who always ask, how you’re doing, making you feel totally comfortable before sipping your blood. Holla!
I could name a list of the staff like Yolanda and others who are just simply good at what they do.
As the late Dr. Walker dreamed, he also wanted a medical facility that would provide some of the best healthcare to Black people and the poor. One where they could receive wrap around healthcare services all in one building, filled with doctors who didn’t care whether you were rich or poor, young or old. They would still give you the best health care possible. Dr. Walker would be proud of the folks at Midtown Medical Center, his vision fulfilled.
Thank you, Dr. Ibsa, Dr. Goodman, Dr. Gatson and all the staff at Midtown Medical Center for always giving your best. In my life time, I’ve been to many medical centers but ya’ll are the cream of the crop. Keep carrying the healer’s spirit. Atten-tion Salute!
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