Newly Elected GA Official Takes Oath Using Shabazz Autobiography

New Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Mariah Parker took the oath of office using the Autobiography of Malcolm X.

New Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Mariah Parker took the oath of office using the Autobiography of Malcolm X.

By Free Radical

Often times, when elected officials take an oath of office, they do so by placing their hand on a Bible or some other religious text. This was not the case with Athens-Clarke County’s newest Commissioner Mariah Parker who decided to use El Hajj Malik-El Shabazz’s (Malcolm X) autobiography instead. The decision comes as no surprise as Parker ran her campaign with a promise to transform the Georgia locale through a program focusing on economic justice, affordable housing, youth development, and criminal justice reform.

“Malcolm’s willingness to uneditedly speak about Black people at large, are qualities I want to embody,” Parker said about her decision to use the freedom fighter’s life story. “To speak out when I see things going wrong.”

Parker, who is easy to spot with her bountiful afro, was born in rural Kentucky. She overcame poverty, substance abuse, and mental health challenges to arrive at her current vocation as a doctoral student at the University of Georgia focusing on linguistics language and literacy education.

“Having seen the transformation of someone who came through a difficult background to become vocal and push conversations on race in a radical way is powerful,” Parker said in paralleling Shabazz’s experiences to her own.

El-Hajj Malik El Shabazz was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska to parents who supported the Garveyite movement. After enduring a life of violent white supremacy, crime, and incarceration, he changed his name to Malcolm X and became the leading minister of the Nation of Islam. After leaving the organization, and adopting a more mainstream version of Islam, he changed his name once again to El Hajj Malik El Shabazz. His advocacy of Black self-determination, self-reliance, and self-defense was a clarion call during the Civil rights era and helped spawn the Black Power Movement that followed. His autobiography, which tells this story, quickly became an international bestseller after he was assassinated in 1965. From Parker’s example, it is clear that his work on behalf of African people has and continues to inspire generations of freedom fighters, young and old.

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