West End Park in Atlanta’s historic West End neighborhood is once again the site of the city’s annual Malcolm X Festival commemorating the birth of the iconic black nationalist leader. This is the 23rd year of the two-day celebration that will begin on what would have been his 87th birthday – Saturday, May 19th.
Featured performers include the immensely talented and grossly underexposed Mausiki Scales & Common Ground Collective, Atlanta’s resident British import Julie Dexter, the acclaimed African dance troupe Giwayen Mata and many more throughout the two days of the festival.
The West End neighborhood of Atlanta is an incredibly diverse reflection of the African-American experience. The Muslim call to prayer is heard five times daily, there is a thriving Black Hebrew community with its own ‘Soul Vegetarian’ restaurant, an influential black Catholic church, the Black Christian Nationalists have their Shrine of the Black Madonna Center, the Seventh-Day Adventists have a major church, and of course the usual mix of Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals and storefront congregations of every ilk.
This eclectic melting pot of black folk provides the perfect backdrop for honoring the legacy of this man who was a staunch advocate for black people of all kinds throughout his sometimes turbulent life. He was born Malcolm Little and progressed in consciousness until he met his untimely end as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, but never wavered in his advocacy for black people of all hues.
Other prominent Malcolm X celebrations in the U.S. include the Malcolm X Jazz Arts Festival in Oakland, CA also happening on Saturday May 19th and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Malcolm’s birthplace, held its annual festival on May 7th and 8th.
West End Park, unofficially for now Malcolm X Park, is located at 1111 Oak St, SW in Atlanta. Festivities are 11am – 7pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
For more information on the festival, go to MalcolmXFestival.com