“Malcolm X Speaks for Us”

If he had not been struck down by assassins on Friday, May 19th, 1965 – Malcolm X would be celebrating his 81st birthday with us today.

Linoleum cut by Elizabeth Catlett

[ Malcolm X Speaks for Us – Linoleum cut by Elizabeth Catlett, 1969. ]

In 1969 African-American painter, printmaker and sculptor, Elizabeth Catlett, paid tribute to the slain freedom fighter with her linoleum cut, Malcolm X Speaks for Us. Though she had moved to Mexico in 1947, making that country her permanent home, she still kept a close eye on the Black liberation movement in the United States. Using the linoleum cut method of printmaking, a technique Catlett became accomplished at while working with Mexican artists at the famed Taller de Grafica Popular (People’s Graphic Arts Workshop), the artist created an evocative visual statement regarding the militant leader’s legacy. African-American men credited Malcolm X for having given them their manhood back, but in Catlett’s print all of the faces surrounding Malcolm are female. It was the artist’s way of saying that Black women too had found their pride through the thoughts and actions of Malcolm X.

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