MALCOLM X's NIGERIAN DIARIES (1964).

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Malcolm X. Photo: Marion S. Trikosko. Wikimedia Commons.

When Malcolm X visited Nigeria in 1964, he could sense the political tension in the air. Malcolm was like a good journalist, observant, and always asking questions and listening and writing notes.

This is what he wrote after meeting President Nnamdi Azikiwe: "He was gracious and humble for a man of his power. Well informed--King, Rustin, Powell. Had seen me on TV and took the initiative to see me. Wish I had had more time to express and explain my views, especially committee structures. He is student of political science -gold cuff links and silver ash tray..."

Malcolm was later interviewed by a reporter from The Pilot and from The Post who were both "very sympathetic," according to his notes. That solidarity seemed to have vanished quickly when Malcolm offered the reporters his favorable impression of Azikiwe.

The Nigerians weren't having it. Malcolm wrote: "I was attacked verbally by the reporters for the good statements I made about Azikiwe. The mood among the young generation Nigerians is most impatient and explosive."

Malcolm was invited to a party by the editor of The Daily Times where he met many other journalists, diplomats, and other Nigerians.

He was prescient, and wrote, ominously: "A good deal of soul searching was being done. It will take much bloodshed to straighten this country out--and I don't believe it can be avoided."

By the time war did break out in Nigeria in July 1967, Malcolm had been dead for one year and four months, the victim of assassination. Azikiwe, whom he'd met, was overthrown on January 15, 1966.

Malcolm's notes are available in the Schomburg Center For Research in Black Culture, in New York City.

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