A little-noticed Malcolm X Day proclamation that Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome issued late last week is drawing fire.
Former East Baton Rouge Metro Councilman Joel Boe blasted the proclamation Tuesday in an email to the mayor-president, Metro Council members and media members. He pointed out that Broome issued the proclamation on May 19 — the same day she penned an open letter calling for unity across Baton Rouge.
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"Can you please help me understand your actions on May 19, 2017 before I make a quick assumption of hypocrisy on your part?" Boe wrote.
He contrasted Malcolm X with Martin Luther King, Jr., saying MLK — whom Broome frequently quotes in public appearances — stood for equality, while Malcolm X "stood for black supremacy." Boe wrote that Malcolm X rejected the Civil Rights movement and advocated for segregating white and black people.
"In my opinion, declaring any day as Malcolm X day only makes the divide in our city that much greater," he said. "The same would go for if you declared any day as Robert E Lee day."
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Asked early Tuesday afternoon about the email, Broome said she had not seen it. Her spokeswoman, Janene Tate, confirmed late Tuesday afternoon that the mayor-president had not seen the email. But Tate issued a statement saying that Broome frequently gives out proclamations and certificates of honor to community groups.
"This proclamation was meant to recognize an event held at Gus Young Park on Saturday by a group of individuals that regularly promotes positive change in communities," Tate wrote. "This was a diverse, family-oriented event highlighting unity, which the mayor-president stressed in her open letter to the community this past week. The mayor-president recognizes that this event was named for Malcolm X, who, in his later writings and speeches, emphasized the need for all races to work together for progress."
Boe questioned how declaring Malcolm X Day helped Broome achieve her mission of unity in Baton Rouge.
"I don’t discount some of the good that he might have done in the black community but I have also lost count as to how many racially charged statements that he made during his tenure," he wrote.