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The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)

by Malcolm X, Alex Haley

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8,114108801 (4.26)201
The controversial leader of the Black Muslims tells the story of his life and his part in the civil rights movement.

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Incredible read. Written very much in Malcolm X’s authentic voice. Malcolm’s story is remarkable—both for how improbable it is and for his continuing evolution and openness to change. This book shows him to be a remarkable, passionate, brilliant, articulate, and amazing man who made a tremendous impact despite numerous struggles and flaws. While the book at times shows sexism and prejudice against others, I can’t help but wonder—as with so many other civil rights leaders of his era—what might have been if Malcolm had lived longer. And his insights on world religions are stunning. In many ways, Malcolm seems to understand Christianity better than many Christians. This is truly a must-read for anyone interested in race, religion, and politics in America. Thanks to #EkpesBookClub for the great read and discussion on this one! ( )
  bentleymitchell | Aug 27, 2021 |
Malcolm X has been unjustly represented in school history books. This autobiography should be required reading for all Americans. ( )
  rhodehouse | Aug 17, 2021 |
More than you could ever expect

For such a galvanizing figure in the history of not only America, but of humanity’s evolution towards a more just existence, this book shows the passion, frailty, and power of someone who spent a good part of his life preaching one thing, only to have the courage to admit he was wrong once he was shown a better thing. ( )
  LukeGoldstein | Aug 10, 2021 |
1 ( )
  ejmw | Aug 4, 2021 |
I went into this autobiography ignorant on who Malcom X was. Embarrassingly, my only notion of him was that he was an angry man who advocated violence against white people. His philosophy was the complete opposite of what Martin Luther King Jr preached. When I was in school, every February for Black History month we would read about Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Mr. King. I don’t recall ever hearing or reading anything about Malcom X. So, like many people, the things I did hear about him were mostly negative.

I’m happy to announce that image has been shattered.

Malcolm Little, before he changed his last name to X, begins his life story by detailing his rough childhood. His father was killed by white supremacists. He must have known we would die before his time, because he had taken out two life insurance policies. After his death, one policy paid out and the other denied the payment. Why you ask? Because they ruled Malcolm's father’s death as suicide. He was found nearly severed in half and his head had suffered blunt force trauma. The insurance company essentially screwed Mrs. Little out of the payments. His mother had to then take care of, on her own, 8 children. The white state welfare workers came constantly to their home, to the point where she suffered a mental breakdown and was institutionalized. Malcolm and his siblings were all separated in put into foster homes.

Is it no wonder that he grew up with a distrust and hatred towards the white man? Who wouldn’t?

As the years went on, he was sent to prison for armed robbery. His life would take a dramatic turn once he was incarcerated. Through his brother, he learned of the Nation of Islam, and the head of the organization was “The Honorable” Elijah Muhammad. The main philosophy that the NOI preached was that the white man was the devil, the literal incarnation of evil. They preached not of violence towards the white man, but rather SEPARATION from them. It was taught that the black man should leave the United States and head back home to Africa.

Malcolm, upon learning all of this, immersed himself completely into this philosophy. While in prison, he became a voracious reader, constantly checking out book after book out of the library. He read on the histories of different countries. He poured over theological literature. He worked on his penmanship. Once, when he was asked where he had earned his degree, he told the interviewer “Prison is my Alma Mater.” Once released, he had a meteoric rise to fame by becoming a fierce preacher for the NOI.

After an incident, which I won’t spoil, he was put on administrative leave and barred from public speaking for around 90 days. Eventually he was kicked out entirely from the NOI. In this time, he would hear that the Islam he was being taught by Elijah Muhammad was not the true Islam. After some events, he would be on a plane to Saudi Arabia, to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. It was this very important trip that would bring about a drastic change to the thinking and beliefs of Malcolm. His life philosophy would be turned on its head.

After making the pilgrimage, and visiting other countries throughout Europe and Africa, his views completely changed. The Muslims he met during his trip came from all walks of life and bore different shades of colors. Skin complexion was inconsequential. His opinion and stance had changed; he was not only for the betterment of the black man, he was now for the advancement for ALL MAN, humankind. He was doing his best to not generalize all white people as evil, but rather that RACISM in America was a cancer that had to be eradicated.

Unfortunately, just as he was formulating his ideals, morphing his views to be clear and more concise, he was assassinated during one of his rallies. He felt that he was going to die a young man. He knew that he wasn’t going to make it to old age. Malcolm had an intuition that he would be killed before the book would be finished. He predicted he would be demonized by most of the media and portrayed as a militant, racist, and as a person who advocated violence. Like I stated before, most people, when asked about Malcolm X, mention his violent demeanor and his want to “kill all the whites.” He continues today to be sorely misunderstood.

This book certainly gave me clarity on who exactly Mr. Malcolm X was, through his own words. I’m proud to be someone who has a better understanding of the man, and I know now what he stood for before his death. He was an advocate for human rights, for equality for all man. I agree with him one hundred percent and I will try my best to convince others to read this book before passing judgement on him.

You know that question that comes up sometimes in conversation, the one where someone asks, “Which famous person, dead or alive, would you love to have a conversation with?” Well, my answer would be “Malcolm X”. An absolutely wonderful, jarring, educational, enlightening, and illuminating read.
( )
  ProfessorEX | Apr 15, 2021 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
X, Malcolmprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Haley, Alexmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Browne, Roscoe LeeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, OssiePost-scriptsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fishburne, Laurencesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Handler, M. S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morton, JoeReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sükösd MihályTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shabazz, AttallahForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When my mother was pregnant with me, she told me later, a party of hooded Ku Klux Klan riders galloped up to our home in Omaha, Nebraska, one night.
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The controversial leader of the Black Muslims tells the story of his life and his part in the civil rights movement.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185430, 0141032723


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