Malcolm X’s daughter talks about learning from heritage, creating legacy



By Nicole Schladt

Legacy and heritage play a vital role in human development, a famous activist’s daughter told UK students Wednesday night.

Ambassador Attallah Shabazz, daughter of civil rights activist Malcolm X, spoke before an audience of students and community members as part of a series of speaking engagements throughout Central Kentucky.

“(Your legacy) is your brand, your trademark,” Shabazz said. “Legacy has air. It breathes, it inhales, it exhales. It moves, it travels.”

Shabazz, currently serves as a scholar-in-residency at the University of Louisville. Raised in Mt. Vernon, New York, Shabazz attended the United Nations International School in Manhattan. She was six-years-old when her father was assassinated.

“I will always be a child who watched her father hit the ground backward,” Shabazz said.

During her talk, Shabazz discussed the importance of her father and other family members, including her mother and grandparents, in creating her own personal legacy.

“Being a Shabazz has not always been an easy road,” she said. “Somewhere in the ‘90s it was finally okay to be Malcolm’s daughter.”

History Professor Dr. Jakobi Williams described Shabazz as a renaissance woman, a producer, a writer, and a diplomat.

“She is one of the world’s most sought-after speakers,” he said.

Shabazz’s lecture was an “exclamation point” to a full calendar of events for the Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Center on campus, center Director Chester Grundy said.

“(Through these cultural events) we hope to create a student that is not just a citizen of Lexington, Kentucky, but a citizen of the world,” Grundy said.