The Autobiography of Malcolm X Background

The Autobiography of Malcolm X Background

The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965) is the product of the collaborative effort of Malcolm X and journalist Alex Haley. To create the autobiography, Malcolm X endured several years of interviews with Haley. As Malcolm X shared the intricacies of his life story during these sessions, Haley detailed everything in the first person. All the chapters of life events were reviewed, edited, and approved by Malcolm X. Even though Malcolm X did not write the original content, the self-directed composition of the work on his behalf was enough to consider it an autobiography. The essence of his work is about the bittersweet experiences he encountered in the African-American community. It captures the tragedies and victories he faced while giving his people a voice to have their collective story heard. Furthermore, it is one of the most well-received literary works and continues to be a staple of powerful African-American literature. This work was honored with the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1966.

Malcolm X was born on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska. He is best known as a national and international civil rights pioneer of the 1960s. As an activist, he spent his years advocating the human rights of African-Americans. The mid-1900s was a notable time of racial upheaval against African-Americans, which took the form of social, political and economic oppression, etc. Malcolm X strived to end their suffering with an aggressive approach to activism. His militant ideologies and practices of leadership positioned him as the most controversial pioneer of the civil rights movement. His style of activism contrasted with that of other civil rights leaders, such as Booker T. Washington (1856 - 1915) and Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968), who had non-combative approaches. He preferred to distance himself from other activists. He was assassinated during February 21, 1965.

The autobiography is adapted as a film titled Malcolm X, and it hit the big screen in 1992. Spike Lee directed the film, which features well-respected actors and actresses. Denzel Washington played Malcolm X and gained supporting roles from Angela Bassett, Al Sharpton, and Al Freeman Jr., etc. The film was honored with many awards, including those from the NAACP and MTV. Washington, Bassett, and Freeman won NAACP awards for their outstanding performances. Overall, the film is a much appreciated visual display of Malcolm X’s legacy.

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