Malcolm X: A Native Son’s Long, Invisible Shadow

Abstract Malcolm X was born in Omaha, Nebraska. It is normal for a city and a state to embrace someone of significant historical stature to promote their historical significance to the nation and the world and to generate revenue from tourism and to benefit in other ways from the association with the historical figure. In the case of Malcolm, there has been a perpetual debate over recognition. This article discusses the role of Omaha as an important crucible for the context of Malcolm’s birth, and for his parents rearing of him in the “black” liberation tradition. His legacy and the debates over it are central to contemporary discussions in the state and the city about the place of African people: present, past, and future.