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Jacksonville celebrates life, legacy of Malcolm X at festival

By staff |
May 15, 2016
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The People's Vanguard performing at the Malcolm X Festival in Jacksonville, FL.
The People's Vanguard performing at the Malcolm X Festival in Jacksonville, FL. (Fight Back! News / Staff)

Jacksonville, FL - The atmosphere at Simonds-Johnson Park was revolutionary on May 14, as people from across Jacksonville gathered for the second annual Malcolm X Festival.

Organized by The Kemetic Empire and several other community groups, the festival honored the life and legacy of Malcolm X as it celebrated African American culture. The event drew over 100 people from the Northside of Jacksonville, which is majority African American, and around the city.

The festival started with an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. and continued into the evening. Musical performances, speeches and workshops on a variety of subjects took place all afternoon.

Notable among the performers was The People's Vanguard (TPV), a self-described revolutionary hip-hop group based out of south Georgia. TPV delivered a high-energy, electrifying set that attacked racist police terror, capitalism and imperialist wars.

“How many of y'all hate capitalism and imperialism?” asked Rag Mathis of TPV, midway through the show. The entire crowd went ballistic, cheering loudly and raising their fists.

The first Malcolm X Festival in Jacksonville took place last year, amid the nationwide rebellion against racist police crimes. Many organizers and activists in the #BlackLivesMatter movement looked to historic Black revolutionaries, like Malcolm X, Assata Shakur and Fred Hampton, for inspiration and political guidance.

Born May 19, 1925, Malcolm X was a revolutionary fighter for Black liberation. As a minister in the Nation of Islam, he rose to prominence in the 1950s for his militant sermons attacking racism and national oppression in the U.S. After leaving the Nation of Islam in 1964, Malcolm X visited several nations in Africa and the Middle East that had overthrown colonialism, in order to learn from their struggles. He returned to the U.S. committed to anti-imperialism and continued fighting for Black liberation until his assassination in 1965.