A private high school in Queens, New York found itself in the center of a controversy involving late civil rights leader and humanitarian, Malcolm X. A student at the school shares El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz‘s first name before the former NOI spokesperson changed it, and was denied a request to have a senior sweater adorned “Malcolm X” to match with his given middle name.
As reported by the New York Daily News, Malcolm Xavier Combs attempted to order a senior sweater adorned with his first name and middle initial, but an assistant principal sacked his plans for the $40 dollar purchase much to the annoyance of his mother.
Daily News writes:
School official Veronica Arbitello “told me … that’s someone I don’t want to be associated with,” the National Honor Society member said in reference to the slain ’60s black activist.
“All I wanted was the ‘X.’ My name is Malcolm Xavier Combs.”
The student’s parents were outraged by the decision, noting the school appeared unfamiliar with Malcolm X or what he represents.
“They pulled him out of class to tell him that a man who said, ‘A man without an education, you have nothing,’ is someone he shouldn’t be associated with,” Combs’ livid mother, Mychelle Combs, said, paraphrasing Malcolm X.
The Combs family was well within rights to be upset, especially given the fact Malcolm X relaxed much of his fiery rhetoric from his NOI days and embraced an orthodox form of Islam that allowed him to see beyond the charged views of his past.
The outlet adds that Combs’ father went up to the school to speak with Arbitello, and said that the school failed to alert the family about their son being pulled from class over the request. The family has aligned with Rev. Al Sharpton and met with the leader and activist on Thursday.