The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday June 10th

BCC Features Malcolm X's Daughter

Atallah Shabazz, the eldest daughter of civil rights leaders Betty Shabazz and Malcolm X, spoke of her own life as an activist, writer and producer, as well as of her parents' contributions.

Shabazz weaved the themes of family and personal legacies, self-respect and the value of community as she delivered the Black Cultural Center's seventh annual Sonja H. Stone Memorial Lecture, which is endowed to bring to campus African-American women who advocate youth leadership and community service.

Hadiyah Muhammad, a sophomore from Durham, said she didn't have words to describe the lecture's inspirational power.

"It was compelling, informative and inspirational," she said. "It will aid in the process of self-realization and building inner strength."

Shabazz spoke about her own history, as well as creating an interactive setting in which the audience members introduced themselves to each other and said, "I wish you the best, but if you get there first, take me with you."

She encouraged the audience to learn about themselves and act upon it. "Freedom is being able to find the outlet for your honesty," Shabazz said.

In speaking of her father's assassination in 1966 and her mother's 1997 death, Shabazz said, "We really have to value one's existence while they are present."

When an audience member asked what she thought her father would be like today had he not been killed, Shabazz said her father might have emerged from the civil rights movement like South African leader Nelson Mandela.

She shared humorous anecdotes from the personal lives of her father and mother and told of the deep love between her parents, describing her father as a "lover filled with compassion."

Shabazz related how a young woman at another lecture once told her she wished Malcolm X was her own father.

Shabazz said she was touched but hoped the young woman would search for meaning in her own father's presence. "Indeed my father was a glorious man to have as a daddy," she said. "But relish (your father) until you can't."

Shabazz encouraged the audience to think about the greater picture of legacy. "Do not think that this moment is singularly about you. It is anointed."

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