Books on Malcolm X
Some view "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" as one of the great life-changing books of all time even in spite of the latest controversy surrounding Alex Haley's falsifying some of the content as discussed in the article, "Martin Luther King’s famous criticism of Malcolm X ‘just not true’, author finds." But before anyone decides to throw out the proverbial literary baby with the bathwater, I think it's important to acknowledge that the newly released, "The Dead Are Arising" practically gave a line by line fact check of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," already, and, rumors of the sanctity of some of the content have long been questioned, however, though the media seemed to enjoy pitting Malcolm X against Martin Luther King Jr, the community enjoyed the intellectual gifts that sprung from both.
“The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley” has been long lauded as the definitive text on the life of this cultural hero, icon, father, husband, minister, and at one time, prison inmate. It is a gritty, refreshing, and revealing peak into the powerful and impactful life of The Great Malcolm X. That book was originally released on Oct. 29, 1965, approximately 8 months after his untimely assassination on Feb. 21, 1965.
“The Autobiography of Malcolm X” has been one of our long-standing best selling books at Afriware Books, Co. In the month after George Floyd’s murder, we sold over one hundred since it made the top ten list of books to read on understanding racism in America. One of the main reasons for its popularity is the miraculous transformation he went through. He turned from being “sunk to the very bottom of the American white man's society” to a model leader and teacher in The Nation of Islam, well respected by masses of Black people. To get a glimpse into his character and devotion to The Nation of Islam, the New York Public Library’s Archives & Manuscripts ( http://archives.nypl.org/scm/21896#detailed), states that Malcolm X and Alex Haley had an “author-collaborator letter of agreement" dated June 1, 1963, signed by the two parties, stipulating that the author, Malcolm X, had no desire to profit personally from this joint venture and that "any and all money representing your [Malcolm X’s] 50% share shall be made payable to Muhammad's Mosque No. 2 in Chicago.”
Historically, the last time “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” gained in popularity and increased in sales volume was in 1992 after Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” movie came out. The movie had its share of fans and critics. There was great controversy surrounding the contents of the movie when compared to the book. Many activists went on record to disagree with the depiction of Malcolm X. Some even revealed that Alex Haley rewrote some of the contents of the book provided by Malcolm X. This was alluded to in the New York Library’s Malcolm X collection in a section where Haley wrote to Malcolm X that “ ‘the changes which have occurred in your perspectives’ … would necessitate a complete rewriting of the last two chapters of the book.” These accusations certainly have raised more questions than answers into Malcolm X’s life.
In 2020, the book “The Dead Are Arising – The Life of Malcolm X” written by Les Payne (July 12, 1941 – March 19, 2018) entered the literary landscape providing a thorough critique and fact check of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" . Here are a few highlights I detailed of the book on Youtube.
It is exciting to have the privilege of access to a newer perspective into this cultural hero’s journey. “The Dead Are Arising – The Life of Malcolm X,” is written by Les Payne (1941-2018). This book just released Oct. 20, 2020. The author, born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and a former editor at Newsday. As one of the founders of the National Association of Black Journalists, Payne also wrote an award-winning syndicated column. Even the title of the new book seems well selected. “The Dead are [now] rising” is a phrase Malcolm X used when referring to the masses of Black people rising in conscientious support of the teachings of Elijah Muhammad (New York Public Library archives). I am not personally familiar with the author, but took note of a few of his Youtube videos which were quite intriguing and gave insight to his being a reputable researcher. “The Dead Are Arising” has been released posthumously by his daughter, Tamara Payne, who served as his “principal researcher” and now lives in New York.
As a bookseller, I am excited to have another look into the life of this historical giant. Whatever the latest trending topics are surrounding this cultural giant, I always encourage the curious to start by reading and listening to his own words. This includes his lectures many of which are online or are available as audio downloads. His complex life is deserving of an intense study to uncover more about how he navigated a world where racism was and still is its preferred psychological, economic, political, and environmental weapon of choice. He was an expert psychological surgeon, who was able to positively correct our perspective on cultural identity. Ever since I read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and watched videos of interviews and speeches, he has been one of my cultural heroes and serves as a constant inspiration. His willingness to utilize lessons learned and apply them directly to his life, was one of his strongest suits. And when asked about changes in his ideology, he would admit when he was wrong. This is the epitome of Black manhood. Malcolm X has my highest respect for this alone. He demonstrates that when we know better, we can and will do better.
I invite you to do your own research and dig deeper by reading a mix of titles by and about Malcolm X. I personally recommend starting with his own words. Then branch out to find out how others interpret his words. You can then compare their views with the opinion you've already formed about him. You can then discuss and grow with time. It's a beautiful journey.
“The Dead Are Arising – The Life of Malcolm X” is available at Afriware Books, Co at the link.
List of books written by Malcolm X (in print or online)
The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley 10/29/1965
The Diary of Malcolm X: El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz 1964 11/15/13
The End of White World Supremacy: Four Speeches by Malcolm X 2/11/20
Feb. 1965: The Final Speeches by Malcolm X, 1/1/1992
Malcolm X: The Last Speeches of Malcolm X, 2/1989
Malcolm X Talks to Young People, by Malcolm X, 1/1/1969
List of Books about Malcolm X
Seventh Child: A Family Memoir of Malcolm X By Rodnell Collins with Peter Bailey 1/25/2022
The Life of Louise Norton Little: An extraordinary woman: mother of Malcolm X and his 7 siblings 2/27/21
Malcolm X – The Man and his Times Edited by Dr. John Henrik Clarke 9/1/1991
The Awakening of Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz, (1/5/2021)
Malcolm X: A Little Book of Essential Quotes on Life, Racism and Power from Little Books of Wisdom 6/7/2020
Malcolm X by Harry Lime 3/7/20
By Any Means Necessary: Malcolm X: Real, Not Reinvented Edited by Herb Boyd, 2/28/2012
Malcolm X: Get to Know the Civil Rights Activist Ebony Joy Wilkins, 1/1/20
Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary by Walter Dean Myers 12/26/19
Malcolm X: A Life from Beginning to End by Hourly History 11/13/18
Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X, Ilyasah Shabazz, 1/7/2014
The Hadith of Malcolm X aka El Hajj Malik Shabazz by James Brother
Any Means Necessary: The Life and Legacy of Malcolm X by Charles River Editors 1/1/2013
The Portable Malcolm X Reader: A Man who Stands for Nothing Will Fall for Anything by Manning Marable 1/16/13
Malcolm X: The FBI File by Clayborne Carson 2/1/12
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable, 12/28/11
X: A Biography of Malcolm X (Graphic Library) by Jessica Gunderson , 12/1/10
The Cambridge Companion to Malcolm X by Robert Terrill, 4/30/10
Blood Bath: The True Teachings of Malcolm X Seldom Told by Elijah Muhammad, 11/2008
On the Side of My People: A Religious Life of Malcolm X by Louis Decaro, Jr. 8/1/1997
Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm by Michael Eric Dyson 1/25/95
Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements by George Breitman 1/11/95
By Any Means Necessary (Revised) ( Malcolm X Speeches & Writings ) 1/1/1992
The Last Year of Malcolm X by George Breitman, 1/1/1967
Malcolm X Talks to Young People by Malcolm X, 1/2/2002
Malcolm X for Beginners by Aquina Bernard Doctor, 8/21/2007
Racism in the Autobiography of Malcolm X by Candice Mancini 9/1/2008
X: a Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz 4/1/2015
Black Minded: The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X by Michael E Sawyer 3/20/20
Growing Up X: A Memoir by the Daughter of Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz 1/14/2003
The Dead Are Arising – The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne, 10/20/20
If you are interested in obtaining any of the titles list above, check our website or send an email to email@example.com
Want to know more??
As always, I appreciate that you have read through this blog post. I hope that you’ve become curious to read more books about Malcolm X. Read more about his mother in a previous blog post article called, "Gifts for Black Mothers." We ask that you consider purchasing your books from our Black owned bookstore, Afriware Books, Co. If there is a title you’d like to purchase that is not mentioned here, or could not be found on the website, feel free to email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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