‘The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X’ Debuts Tonight on the Smithsonian Channel

Through rarely seen archival footage, the episode aims to engage, inform, and inspire
Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X // © Public Domain – Library of Congress // Photograph Courtesy of the Smithsonian Channel

On Oct. 22, 1963, in a lecture hall at Wayne State University, Malcolm X spoke to a packed room of students. Some sat on the floor while others lined the back wall, their attention fixated on the man before them, known for his truth-to-power stance, fiery rhetoric, and keen intellect.

Decades later and just a few minutes away, Malcolm X’s resounding voice would echo through Detroit once again. This time, the gathering was at the Detroit Historical Museum for a private advance screening of Smithsonian Channel’s, “The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X,” in partnership with Comcast and The National Business League. It is the first episode of Season Two of The Lost Tapes series, which uncovers rarely seen material to immerse viewers in critical events of the last century.

During the preview and a following question and answer session, Linda Goldman, an executive producer at the Smithsonian Channel, said she hopes that the new series will engage, inform, and inspire audiences. She wants this most recent Black History Month special to present “a more well-rounded sense of Malcolm X and what he stood for beyond the headlines.”

“The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X” is presented entirely through speeches, newscasts, and rarely seen archival footage, including Nation of Islam rallies and recordings made at the Audubon Ballroom in New York on the day of Malcolm X’s assassination. It recounts the story of this influential, yet highly controversial leader who, by any means necessary, put his life on the line to bring change and equality to black America.

Viewers will learn more from his years with the Nation of Islam and beyond, and witness his social and political impact as it unfolded in real time.

The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X premieres Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. on the Smithsonian Channel. For more information, visit www.smithsonianchannel.com.