Monday, March 22, 2010

" the sense that the lenses were only part of a clever disguise, that the eyes need no help, that they suddenly see everything." -Robert Penn Warren

From Malcolm X; As They Knew Him
Section Titled: 'Chickens, Snakes & Duck Eggs' (p. 149)*
by David Gallen

Monday, March 08, 2010

Robert Haggins
(Malcolm's Photographer)

"When the black Muslim leaders, increasingly jealous of Malcolm's exposure in the press, wrested the NOI newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, from Malcolm's control and moved it out of the basement of his house in Queens to their national headquarters in Chicago, they also demanded the negatives of all the photographs the paper had printed. "So Malcolm had to come to me and ask me for all my negatives," Robert Haggins recalls. "It hurt him, it really hurt, to do that. He looked at me and said, 'I hate to ask you, because I know photographers don't like to surrender their negatives.' I gave up all of them. He never forgot that, and every chance he got to pay me back for that he did. When he went to Florida and that famous photograph of his family was taken there, he mailed the undeveloped film to me, so I could claim the photographs. I wasn't even there, but I own the negatives. I have a right to sell those pictures only because of what Malcolm did for me."

"And then," Haggins continues, "when he came back from Mecca, he gave me the bag that he had carried all the way into Mecca. I've got that bag here. And he gave me his camera, I have that camera here. So I have his camera, I have his bag. I'm going to give his camera to his daughter Attallah, I told her I would give it to her, and I want her to have it. But the bag I'm going to keep. That bag went all the way to Mecca. It's up in that closet, and he gave it to me and it's been up in that closet for twenty-five years. It's an old green bag, and it's something that he wanted me to have. So, Malcolm was a good friend of mine, and I tried to serve him with the best means possible..."

"He was quite a man, believe me. He taught me how to live. For me Malcolm was the tallest tree in the forest." (p. 96-97)

-Robert Haggins

From Malcolm X; As They Knew Him
by David Gallen