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Malcolm X: The Great Photographs by Thulani…

Malcolm X: The Great Photographs

by Thulani Davis

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This book consists chiefly of photographs of the US political activist Malcolm X, chiefly taken during the years he was in the public eye. Malcolm X (1925- 1965) was a powerful and influential civil rights activist in the US during the 1950s and 1960s, a time of great political ferment. He was a fiery speaker and effective writer, and a minister and prominent leader in the “black Muslim” movement. During his political evolution, his focus expanded from civil rights to human rights. Having become disillusioned with the Nation of Islam movement and its leader Elijah Muhammad, he broke with the movement, disavowed both racism and black separatism, and following a visit to Mecca, came to see Islam as a way to transcend racial problems. Following increasing rancor and criticism between Malcolm and leaders of the National of Islam, he was assassinated in 1965 by three Nation of Islam members. His written legacy includes the book The Autobiography of Malcolm X, co-written with journalist Alex Haley.

The photographs in this book focus mainly on the last 5 years of his life, at the height of his political activism. Over 100 photographs are included. All are rendered in gray scale, and many take up a full page or two-page spread in this large- format book. Most were taken by journalists, and for many, Malcolm carefully posed in order to create certain images for the press.

Among the early photographs is one of him (as Malcolm Little) at age 14, another being his mug shot taken at age 18) upon his arrest for larceny (an arrest that led to a suspended sentence). Other photos show him giving speeches and meeting with political leaders and people from black communities around the nation. Still others showed black - owned and Muslim – owned businesses (set up to help people achieve economic independence); political protests, some being met with police brutality; rallies in Times Square and Harlem; and his visit to Egypt and to Kenya. The concluding photographs show his house in Elmhurst after it was firebombed; the last known photo of his life; and photos taken at his assassination and funeral. The book also includes a 10 page biography by Thulani Davis, plus a 7 page chronology of his life, and an index. ( )
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Black and white photographs of Malcolm X during his public career, 1960-65, by some of the best known photographers. Includes a chronology and an essay on his life and ideas. No index. Distributed by Workman.

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