Friday, July 1, 2011

The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley

Usually when I read a book specific people come to mind: that colleague looking for a title to add to their curriculum, a student who loves a particular brand of writing, maybe a friend that enjoys a certain type of character or story. This book is one of the rare tomes that makes my 'every human being must read this' list. Alex Haley tells Malcolm X's story from birth to death, including the murder of his father at the hands of Michigan racists, his life as a hustler, his conversion to Islam, and his break up with the Black Muslims. Haley's epilogue gives context to the creation of the book itself and adds a layer of depth and insight missing from many autobiographies. Ossie Davis's On Malcom X piece at the end of the book was profoundly moving. A new biography came out this year and would make an excellent companion book. Click here for Columbia University's Malcom X Project page and here for a video clip of his interview at UC Berkeley in 1963. Thanks to NPJ for putting this unforgettable book that I should have read eons ago in my hands and for arranging a memorable Harlem setting in which to read it.