The recordings of Malcolm X's 1961 address in Providence might never have been found if it weren't for 22-year-old Brown University student Malcolm Burnley. "No one had listened to this in 50 years," Burnley told The Associated Press. "There aren't many recordings of him before 1962. And this is a unique speech—it's not like others he had given before." In the May 11, 1961 speech, Malcolm was a loyal supporter of the Nation of Islam, and combined sharp humor with an acute level of reason to argue that blacks should not look to integrate into white society. "We don't have time for the White man," Malcolm opined. "The White man is on top already, the White man is the boss already... He has first-class citizenship already. We are working on our own people."
Since its discovery, the recording has been digitized for posterity, and should be celebrated as we delve deeper into Black History Month. As we embark down the road of the Digital Era, what are some lessons we can learn from the past? Do Malcolm X's words hint to a need that is lost in today's Black culture?