The Autobiography of Malcom X is a 1965 book that resulted from collaboration between Malcom X and Alex Haley. It has been widely considered one of the most important literary works of the middle Twentieth Century.

Synopsis

At one time Malcolm Little peddled drugs, burglarized homes, and solicited prostitutes, but he experienced great change through a discovery of Islam, that led him to become Malcolm X, an unwavering champion of his people. The Autobiography of Malcolm X tells everything.

The vision that Malcolm X had for two separate Americas changed as his horizons were broadened by his experiences. Malcolm’s first impressions of Islam led him to believe that the integration of the races was impossible, and that the secession of the African race from the United States was inevitable. History, as presented by the “prophet” Elijah Muhammad, who introduced Malcolm Little to Islam, declared that the Negro is the original person, and all lighter skinned races were formed as corrupted persons during rebellions against the Lord. As Malcolm X furthered his study of Islam, and made several trips to Mecca, he came to realize that it was the teachings of Elijah Muhammad were corrupted. While he was making some of his most inflammatory speeches he found whites that admitted to atrocities committed by their ancestors, and whites that sympathized with his cause helped Malcolm X to become able to realize that the races could exist together as brothers.

Through his book, Malcolm X pushes the message that, people as individuals have to do something to cause change to happen for the better. Malcolm Little was living the lifestyle of the most wretched and unclean people. He ended up in prison for years after one botched home invasion, but his brother Reginald guilted him into a diligent study of history and theology while he was in prison and turned his life around through a lot of hard work. Once he got out of prison he worked various legitimate jobs and eventually became a successful minister. It was then that he dropped the name Little, with which his former masters endowed his family in favor of an X. When the Africans were enslaved their masters took their old names and gave them more European names to help “civilize” them. The X represents the forgotten name his ancestors could not bequeath to him. Once he was able to turn his life around he saw that he had help enlighten his people to their potential, and he did so until his death. His unwavering dedication to the cause of his people is a defining part of Malcolm X’s image. Once he arrived on the national stage his words struck fear into many whites and some African Americans who saw the changes he fought for as extremely militant and dangerous. Other African American leaders were afraid that his radical secessionist approach would undo the progress that they had made towards integration. Later in his life, when he realized that Elijah Muhammad’s secessionist doctrine was based in to deeply in Elijah’s greed, and that the races could coexist together, Malcolm fought with all of his resolve to see that the racial supremacists were defeated. Ultimately Malcolm discovered that the problem his people had been facing was not one of superiority but one of attitudes, and by marginalizing groups like the Ku Klux Klan the stage was set for peaceful integration.

Malcolm X’s experienced great changes in his life, and he became an unwavering champion of his people. This work illustrates how in his life he achieved a level of greatness that earned him the respect of his allies and adversaries.


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