The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Believe it or not, folks, I’d never read this book. While I’d often seen it cited on countless literary lists as one of the best autobiographies of the 20th century, I’d always pass it by whenever I saw it at my local library or bookstore. I figured that I knew everything there was to know about El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. I finally decided, mostly out of frustration at the inability to find a decent book to read, to pick it up at my local library recently. If anything, I’d finally be able to reference his actual words from text in future conversation.

Though much has been deservedly debated and discussed about Malcolm X as the legendary black leader, reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X introduced him to me as a man. Whether it was the boy who was quickly thrust into adulthood by family tragedy or the imprisoned young man whose eyes had opened to the pride and consciousness as a black man in America, Alex Haley’s gift for conveying his nuances and thoughts immediately endeared him to me as a man who truly cared about his people. Moreover, his tireless work to uplift the black community was derived from pure determination and compassion to eradicate oppression and racism through Islam.
While I knew how Malcolm’s last chapter would close, it was nevertheless heartbreaking to read. Not only was it a poignant read on how this man wouldn’t get a chance to grow old with his wife while raising their daughters together, it was very painful to see a progressive journey cut abruptly short. As a result, I haven’t reconciled on whether he was indeed ahead of his time or if we were (and still are, to a degree) stagnant about our existence in America. However, I am certain that The Autobiography of Malcolm X is definitely a must-read and a must-own for those who have and haven’t had the pleasure of reading it. Whether you agree with his convictions or not, it is, nevertheless, a wonderful and authentic study of the mind of the man who revolutionized the way we thought, lived, and existed.Tracy

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1 Comment

  1. Definitely one of my favorite books. I re-read it often just to remind myself how powerful, loving and full of pride black men can be.
    And I am always captivated by pictures of Sir Malcolm.

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