By Stephanie Stokes Oliver and Reginald Oliver, Anguilla Lit Fest committee members
On Friday, May 19, 2017, the Lit Fest will have the honor of hosting luncheon speaker Ilyasah Shabazz, an author and the daughter of the late human rights activist Malcolm X/El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, on the occasion of his 92nd birthday. She will be introduced by attorney-at-law and Anguilla’s Leader of the Opposition in the House of Assembly, Pam Webster, who will touch on how Malcolm X inspired the similar struggles of Anguilla in the 1960s. The Chief Minister of Anguilla, Victor Banks, will also be present to welcome Ms. Shabazz. As he has designated the Lit Fest as part of the official events leading up to the May 30-31 celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Revolution, he will share his thoughts on how the people of Anguilla related to Malcolm X and his movement. He will also present Shabazz with a plaque on behalf of the Anguilla Literary Foundation, the Government, and the People of Anguilla, to be displayed In the Malcolm X & Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center in New York City.
Jamaican author Colin Channer, who is leading pre-fest community workshops, arrived on-island on Sunday, and we had a chance to ask him about Malcolm X’s impact in the Caribbean and the diaspora. “Malcolm X’s mother was from the Caribbean, from Grenada,” he reminded us. “He had a great influence on the Pan-African Movement of Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, and others. In Jamaica, his autobiography was banned from 1966-1976, which only helped to make him even more highly regarded as inspiring the Black Power Movement of Jamaica.”
Ilyasah Shabazz has written three books about her father, and is working on one about her mother, activist Betty Shabazz. A limited number will be available for purchase at the Lit Fest: Her own memoir, Growing Up X; a young-adult book, X: A Novel; and a children’s book, Malcolm Little.
Shabazz will also appear at a workshop on inspiring youngsters to read and write on Saturday, May 20. Two-day ticketholders for the Lit Fest will be covered for her Friday luncheon presentation, as well as the Saturday children’s session. Children are invited to attend the free session on Saturday, from 1:45-3:15 pm. The Friday and Saturday events will take place at the festival venue, Paradise Cove.
For an article Ilyasah Shabazz has written on her father’s legacy, visit the Shabazz Center’s website: http://theshabazzcenter.net/page/malcolm_x.html
Tickets to the Anguilla Lit Fest can be purchased at Paradise Cove, starting Thursday, May 18, and from 8 am the mornings of the Friday and Saturday sessions.