Interview with Cleveland Sellers

Clee, in 1962 at Howard you invited, you, NAG, Courtland Cox, Stokely invited Malcolm to speak. Can you describe your reactions to hearing him for the first time?


In 1962 as a member of NAG, Non-violent Action Group, at Howard University, ah, we seized an opportunity to, ah, to take over the Lyceum Program at Howard University. And this was fairly common among college students across the country to be involved in the student government association and other student activities on the campus. Ah, one of the things we wanted to do with the Lyceum Program is bring in speakers who were more relevant to, what we contend were the needs of Black students and bring in speakers that would challenge us and that would, ah, make our visions wider and broader. Malcolm came, agreed to come, and it was a struggle with the administration to, ah, to secure Malcolm's coming to the, ah, campus. Malcolm came. Malcolm was a dynamic speaker. He was very articulate. Ah, Malcolm spoke on the, ah, the Nation of Islam and what it represented. Malcolm also talked about the need for pride and, and self-determination. Malcolm talked about how it was important that Black people knew something about their history. These were areas that we had known about but no one was articulating during that particular period of time. I was tremendously impressed with Malcolm. Not with the, ah, the notion of the states in the South but with the, the challenge to the students to begin to think, to begin to think independently, to begin to think in the context of who they were and what they were all about. So, I, I, I would just conclude by saying that Malcolm left an impression on me. He was, he was tremendously articulate. And, ah, he, he raised some questions that I wanted to seek answers for.


Okay, stop.