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Free Study Guide-The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X-Free Notes
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BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Author Information - Biography

Malcolm X (1925- 1965).Born as Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, he grew up to become the leader of a movement to unite black people all over the world. His father Rev. Earl Little was a preacher and an active member of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) founded by Marcus Garvey. In 1946, Malcolm X was sentenced to prison in Massachusetts for burglary. While in prison, he came across the teachings of the Nation of Islam and converted to Islam. The members of this organization believed in the separation of races.

Soon after he was released from prison in 1952, he became an active member, organizer, and leading spokesperson of the Nation of Islam. Very soon he rose to the position of a Minister in the organization and traveled all over America to attend and speak at lectures organized by Universities and media persons on the subject of racism. In 1964, due to serious disagreements with the founder of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X formed a new organization called the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). But even before his new organization could be firmly established, he was brutally assassinated at a public meeting on Feb. 21, 1965.


Malcolm X is gone. But his thoughts and words live through his speeches and the autobiography he wrote with the help of his close friend and noted author Alex Haley. Some of the observations made regarding the condition of blacks and the issue of racism in America by this black leader are still extremely relevant today.

Literary Information

While this book was written and arranged entirely by Alex Haley, the content of the book has been narrated by Malcolm X himself. Also, the book has been written in first person as though Malcolm X is directly addressing his readers. Therefore, the book is rightly called an Autobiography and not a Biography written by Alex Haley.

The book gives the reader a vivid description of the life and times of the most controversial leader of the civil rights movement in America. In other words, while recording the upheavals in the personal life of Malcolm X, it also gives a ringside view of the events that occurred in and outside America during four decades (1925-1965), and how these events affected Malcolm's own life.

This autobiography is a valuable piece of literature not only its power of description and narration, but also for the deep insight it gives to the reader of the socio-economic and cultural conditions prevailing in the United States during Malcolm's life.

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