Malcolm X: ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’

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Malcolm X’s autobiography, as told to author Alex Haley and shown in this typed manuscript, received immediate acclaim upon publication in the fall of 1965, just months after the civil rights activist’s assassination. Eliot Fremont-Smith reviewed the book in The New York Times:

“It has been said, correctly I think, that ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’ is a book about the nature of religious conversion. … But the book is more. It tells what happens to an intelligent Negro who discovers that he has, within American society, no future. … ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’ is a brilliant, painful, important book. Alex Haley has made very readable the many hours of taped interviews, and his own epilogue … is candid and perceptive. The book raises many difficult questions, and it is a testament parts of which many readers will not approve. But as a document for our time, its insights may be crucial; its relevance cannot be doubted.”

—Excerpted from The New York Times, November 5, 1965 (page 35)

Excerpt from Malcolm X's "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" read by Herbert Martin, Professor Emeritus. University of Dayton. Department of English