New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.
March 6, 2017

Family Activity: X: Or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation

These activities and discussion guides have been created so that families can use X: Or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation as an inspiration to discuss power, legacy and the nature of leadership. For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. You can find all of our past Family Activities on our blog and at  

In His Own Words

Malcolm X was known for his passionate speeches and interviews. In this activity, watch the video below and discuss your thoughts afterwards. 

After watching the video, discuss these questions as a family:
  • What did you notice about Malcolm X?
  • What points do you think Malcolm X was trying to convey?
  • Why do you think Malcolm X became so influential?
  • Does he remind you of anyone in current events today? Who? Why?
  • Who do you think he's trying to influence in these speeches?
  • If Malcolm X were alive today, where do you think he would stand on the current U.S. political climate?
Making Meanings

Malcolm X spoke of equality and inclusion in the 1960s. Many of the things he spoke about are still relevant today. In this activity, connect his quotes to current day events.

Materials: Newspaper, magazine or online news source

Step One: Read the Malcolm X quotes listed below and choose one that you connect with and want to explore further. Think about why that quote resonates with you.
"So, early in my life, I learned that if you want something you had better make some noise."

"We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity."

"Whether we are Christians or Muslims or nationalists or agnostics or atheists, we must first learn to forget our differences." 

"We can never get civil rights in America until our human rights are first restored. We will never be recognized as citizens there until we are first recognized as humans."

Step Two: Look through today's newspaper, a recent magazine or an online news source for a picture that connects to the quote you chose.

HINT: Go to the actual news website rather than social media to get a larger variety of photos to choose from. Also, try Google image search!

Step Three: Once you have chosen your photo, discuss these conversation prompts:
  • Why did you choose this photo?
  • What connection do you see between the quote and the photo?
  • Why do you think you are able to connect a quote from 60 years ago to a photo in today’s current news?
Step Four: Turn the photo and quote into a meme using Meme Generator. Post it on social media using #NewVic.

What Could Have Been

The play X: Or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation is a work of historical fiction. Historical fiction is a genre in which real life events are portrayed within a fictional framework. The plot is based on actual events and features fictional characters who are inspired by real people. Historical fiction can also include imaginary characters, events or settings. For instance, X: Or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation, takes place in a courtroom at an unknown place and time and features a fictional trial between the Nation of Islam and Betty Shabazz. The playwright is able to show what could have been. In this activity, be the playwright and imagine a conversation between two visionaries based on what you know about them and what impact they have had on the world. 

Materials: One printable timeline template per person, pencil/pen

Step One: Read this excerpt from the script of X: Or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation. In this scene, Louis X and Malcolm X have just learned that JFK was assassinated. This is the conversation Marcus Gardley wrote for them: 


Step Two: Discuss these questions as a family:
  • What elements in this scene do you think are historically accurate?
  • What elements in this scene do you think are fictionalized?
Step Three: Now, choose two people from history who you would like to imagine having a conversation with each other. Look below for suggestions of interesting pairings, but feel free to choose your own. We would want to be a fly on the wall for any of these!
Group 1
Group 2
Group 3

Step Two: Write a ten-line scene between these two people using this template.

BONUS: Discuss this question with your family: If you could have a conversation with anyone in history, who would it be and why?

Online Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these resources!  

Family Activities
We invite you to deepen your understanding of the performing arts with our Public Engagement Activites, Arts Express and Talk-Backs!
Twitter   What did you think of Malcolm X's speech?
Share with us on Instagram or Twitter, #NewVic.
Facebook   Which two individuals did you chose to create a scene between?
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Posted by Beth Henderson
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