A Queens student barred from having the name “Malcolm X” embroidered on his school sweatshirt beamed with joy this weekend after an unexpected visit from his namesake’s daughter.
Malcolm Xavier Combs, 17, was more than ecstatic as Ilyasah Shabazz gifted him with an all-black T-shirt with “X Legacy” displayed on the front, the New York Daily News reported. The surprise meeting happened on Saturday inside the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network headquarters in Harlem.
“I’m probably going to frame that — I like it so much,” said Combs, an honor student at Christ the King High School.
The teenager’s story made headlines last week after he said school leaders denied his request to have the Black activist’s name, which resembles his own, displayed on the back of his senior sweater. Combs said the assistant principal pulled him out of class just to tell him Malcolm X was someone he “didn’t want to be associated with” and even mocked him for it.
“I felt insulted,” he told the Daily News last week. “They just laughed at me … that’s my name, Malcolm X, not a nickname.”
Christ the King officials have defended their decision, however, claiming that all students are banned from having nicknames on their school sweaters. The teen’s mother, Mychelle Combs, said that isn’t the case, saying that school officials took no issue with names like “Malcolm E.” or “Malcolm D.”
“… But that one letter in the alphabet has set off a firestorm,” she said.
Shabazz, the third daughter of Malcolm X, argued that her father should be honored for his steadfast efforts to uplift Black Americans and other marginalized groups.
“He was fearless because he loved us and he believed in our humanity,” Shabazz said of her dad, who was assassinated 1965. “He believed every child deserved an opportunity to realize his or her God-given potential. He said we’re miseducated [and] demanded an end to 400 years of trauma … What’s so controversial about that?”
The Rev. Al Sharpton has vowed to protest in front of the school if Christ the King officials fail to change its policy and require cultural sensitivity training for faculty members.