Midlands News: 12.02.1965: Malcolm X


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The American civil rights spokesman Malcolm X visits Marshall Street in Smethwick.

Description

We see Malcolm X standing next to a sign for Marshall Street. He then walks along the street stopping to look at a ‘for sale’ sign in a house window. Members of the press are also visible. We then see Malcolm X sitting in a room chatting to reporters.

Catalogue Notes

Malcolm X came to Smethwick during his visit to Britain because it had come to symbolise racism in Britain. In the 1964 General Election the Conservative MP Peter Griffiths had won the seat of Smethwick allegedly using racist campaigning. It was widely reported that stickers with the slogan “If you want a n***** for a neighbour vote Liberal or Labour” had been distributed by his supporters. The victory and the views of Griffiths prompted the Prime Minister Harold Wilson to describe him as a “parliamentary leper”. In December 1964 Conservative members of the local council asked the council’s housing department to buy any houses that became vacant on Marshall Street to prevent black families moving in. A plan which the council agreed to implement early in 1965. Malcolm X had been a spokesman for the Nation of Islam but had left in 1964. On February 21 1965 Malcolm X was shot dead in New York by members of the Nation of Islam.

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