Penguin Modern Classics, 2001 (paperback, 528 pages )
Staff Pick, Arman: “Personally helped me to recognise and deal with internalised racism.”
Malcolm X’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X was written in collaboration with Alex Haley, author of Roots, and includes an introduction by Paul Gilroy, author of The Black Atlantic, in Penguin Modern Classics. From hustling, drug addiction and armed violence in America’s black ghettos Malcolm X turned, in a dramatic prison conversion, to the puritanical fervour of the Black Muslims. As their spokesman he became identified in the white press as a terrifying teacher of race hatred; but to his direct audience, the oppressed black population of America, he brought hope and self-respect.
This autobiography (written with Alex Haley) reveals his quick-witted integrity, usually obscured by batteries of frenzied headlines, and the fierce idealism which led him to reject both liberal hypocrisies and black racialism. Vilified by his critics as an anti-white demagogue, Malcolm X gave a voice to unheard African-Americans, bringing them pride, hope and fearlessness, and remains an inspirational and controversial figure.