Born in Pensacola, Florida, and an Alabama State College graduate, Malden cut King’s hair for more than a decade and he opened the Malden Brother barbershop with family members in 1954.
“Because of segregation, the black barber was a very important place where blacks congregated,” Shird said, adding that Malden also worked distributing the Southern Carrier newspaper, which was one of just a handful of newspapers in the south during the Jim Crow era geared towards the concerns of black people.
Shird, who is currently finalizing a deal to become lead screenwriter on an as-yet-titled Hollywood film says he believes his latest book can help young ones connect the dots between today and history.
“I’m hoping that this book will help motivate African-Americans to [become active] and stay engaged by either voting, protesting and organizing. I really feel like this is a great time to be black in America and an opportunity to make a historical difference,” he said. “It’s a great time to rise up and become a leader in the community. A great time to embrace the young people around us and help them acquire their dreams. It’s a great time for the black culture. We just have to believe in ourselves and our ability.”
Shird’s book, “The Colored Waiting Room: Empowering the Original and the New Civil Rights Movements; Conversations Between an MLK Jr. Confidant and a Modern-Day Activist” is available for sale at https://www.amazon.com/Colored-Waiting-Room-Empowering-Conversations/dp/1948062011.