The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley - Book Review Example

2021-06-19 22:15:50
4 pages
1063 words
University/College: 
Boston College
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Book review
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Malcolm X is a man who was highly esteemed during the Civil Rights Movement that occurred between the years 1950 and 1960 in the United States. As a staunch member of a religious, organization, Nation of Islam, he was known for his confident and outspoken character. He was at the forefront for the separation of the races and often responded violently to attacks launched by the Americans or the police.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X, an international bestseller, was written in 1965 by Alex Haley a veteran journalist and writer of the struggles of Black Americans. The primary focus of this book was to highlight the aspect of a black man in the period that was based on racism and struggles for equality among the races of United States. The blacks were fighting the perspectives of racism along with the emergence and tumble of the Nation of Islam organized religion. Haley's main aim of writing the book was to ensure people understood Malcolm X as an individual rather than a phenomenon. There were a lot of false beliefs that surrounded Malcolm X but this book sets to inform the truth about his life.

Malcolm X first experienced lifes challenges at a young age. At the age of six, his father was killed by the Black legions, people that Malcolm claimed to be white supremacists; his life started off on a hard note. Since his father was the sole breadwinner in his family his mother had to work extra hard to provide for his family. However, her efforts were futile and she ended up with a mental breakdown. As a child he could not comprehend what really went on in his family, all he knew is that he went to live in a foster home that had plenty of food. Malcolm was taken to a school where he was liked by his peers including the whites, although they were still racist, he ignored their comments. He had a dream of becoming a lawyer until one of his teachers discouraged him claiming it was not a career for the African Americans. Later, he got into trouble and was suspended, landing him in a detention home in Michigan. After finishing his eighth level he relocated to Boston, Massachusetts where he resided with his half-sister, Ella. In Boston, Malcolm gets a culture shock and attempts to engage in all urban night activities such as clubbing, use of drugs, gambling and he even dates an older woman, Sophia. He also meets a friend, Shorty, who is his accomplice.

With time, Ella finds him a job on the railroad where Malcolm worked for a while then he was sacked. He went to New York and he started working as a hustler in Harlem. He got a job at a bar where he managed to integrate with the community. Unfortunately, he lost that job and returned to Boston where he became a drug addict. In a bid to fund his addiction, Malcolm resolved to become a thief. He forms a gang inclusive of Shorty, Sophia and her sister. This hustle does not last for long as he was apprehended and sentenced to a 10-year imprisonment. His life takes a turn while he was in prison. He meets a man who is highly respected by the inmates because of how he carries himself and Malcolm begins a culture of reading and writing in order to be like-minded as Bimbi. In 1948, Malcolms brother Reginald informed him to quit smoking cigarettes and consuming pork. At first, he thinks that's the way to be released from prison but later he understands its the way to join the Nation of Islam. When he is freed from prison, Malcolm has changed and he also alters his name to Malcolm X initially known Malcolm Little. He is given the rank of an assistant at the Detroit temple of the Nation of Islam. Due to his activities at the temple, he is promoted to a higher rank of being Elijah Muhammads (the N O Is leader) right-hand man, the first national minister. Just when his life was getting better, one Nation of Islam member, Johnson Hinton, is assaulted by the police which results to a major scare such that they set to talk out about it nationally. This is where Malcolm X begins to get famous as he is seen in the newspapers, television, heard on radios among other media outlets talking about Elijah Muhammad and his work at the Nation of Islam. In 1963, some information is released about Elijahs affairs and children that he got out of wedlock; this information causes a huge scandal that eventually leads to the ban of Malcolm X from the Islam community. Malcolm X sorts ways of replenishing himself and borrows Ella some money which he uses to travel to Mecca where he sees a different lifestyle for the Muslims that he returns and opens his own organization and teaches people the new ways that he learned. The media, on the other hand, begins taunting his name claiming that he detests white people and he is very violent. Malcolm X, however, does not care as his aim is to free the black people. The book ends with Malcolm X saying how he feels the proximity of his death and how ready he is for it. He was assassinated in 1965 as he delivered his speech in Harlem.

Through this book, we get to know how racism, discrimination and oppressiveness of the Blacks took place in America. The blacks were undermined and mistreated by the whites when Malcolm X returns from Mecca, he has seen how people lived together and when he attempts to enlighten people word goes around claiming that he hates the white. Malcolm X was open-minded to new ways of life and he majorly fought for the freedom of the blacks. Haley has managed to tell the accounts of the life of Malcolm X, for him to write this book, he had intensive interviews with Malcolm X for two years. Haley made the voice of the book seem as if Malcolm X was telling the story himself. He aimed to inspire the lives of African Americans, conveying the message that change is bound to occur and it always has its time. The autobiography of Malcolm X political and spiritual legacies can be used to understand the dynamics of international history in the past decades.

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