Recommended Malcolm X book #9: “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, published by the Random House Publishing Group, as told by Alex Haley (1965).
For those who have made the mistake, this book was not written by Malcolm X. It is told by Alex Haley. I’ll provide a quote that gives a critical look at the autobiography:
“The pivotal book, by any measure, is Malcolm X’s autobiography written with Alex Haley. Ma [Malcolm X’s half-sister Ella Collins] had no serious problems with what was in the autobiography, but she often “wondered what was left out and what was put in after Malcolm’s death. His not being there for the final editing does raise those kinds of questions.”
Something we knew was left out was five chapters that basically outlined Malcolm’s political, economic, social, and cultural positions that were expressed in the OAAU’s aims and objectives. They were hyped by the press and among some observers as the “mysterious missing five chapters.” They really weren’t missing. Ma and I knew about this, as did Alex Haley, who seemed to have enjoyed all the intrigue around the mystery that was created. Attorney Gregory Reed, of Detroit, Michigan, who purchased the working manuscript at an Alex Haley estate sale in 1992 and whose legal services I once used, said that inclusion of the chapters in the autobiography would have made it “more scholarly.” When I told him that much of the information was available in the OAAU’s aims and objectives, he was surprised that the OAAU was still in existence.
Ma wished that the chapters had been included in the autobiography because “they would have provided all those people, probably numbering in the millions, who read the autobiography a more detailed look at what Malcolm was aiming to do politically, economically, and culturally. He had a plan of action. I don’t know why Haley or his editors excluded them. Maybe sometime in the future he planned on using them as the foundation for another book on Malcolm.”
Among other things, the OAU’s aims and objectives that Malcolm helped develop and approved of states:
Basically there are two kinds of power that count in America, economic and political, with a social power deriving from those two… . The Organization of Afro-American Unity will organize the Afro-American Community, block by block, to make the community aware of its power and potential. We will start immediately a voter-registration drive to make every unregistered voter in the Afro-American community an independent voter; we propose to support and/or organize political clubs, to run independent candidates for office, and to support any Afro- American already in office who answers to and is responsible to the Afro-American community.
The OAAU’s aims and objections stressed responsibility, self-help, self-defense, discipline, education, and a commitment to unity. There is no doubt that their inclusion in the autobiography would have enhanced its already strong emphasis on substance.”
-On the Autobiography of Malcolm X. Taken from Rodnell P. Collins [nephew of Malcolm X] with A. Peter Bailey’s “Seventh Child: Malcolm X” (Pages 205-206).
Here are some of the missing parts of the autobiography which have been recently revealed that can give a good intro to the autobiography (this was by Malcolm X and not by Alex Haley):
I am writing this book for the best interests of the Negro and the white man in America. I wasted seven years of my life in the streets of America. Today after spending the transitional years of my life in Boston, and later in Harlem as a human predator, parasite, and leech, all of which I was inevitably a premacy of self-destruction, and afterwards spending the next seven years in prison.
White America vilified and scorned me today in the news, media, headlines, over radio and televisions, as the infamous Black Muslim Minister Malcolm X, accused of teaching and spreading the “untrue” hatred of the white man among my brothers.
No man has so much time to do his life work and find his purpose for living. Everything that I do now takes on a sense of urgency. Today I have not the time to write a book merely with the ambition to excite or stimulate some reader’s mind. I have, the readers will see in years, chapters to come [where I] lived as closely as it is possible for a Negro to live with the white man and a white woman. In fact, I consider my life to be a perfect mirror that reflects the attittude of the white man in America towards the Black man. In part, in fact, it was what I learned of the white man that personally helped me to shape my thoughts, convictions, and positive core values of self-esteem, self-help, self-determination, and self-reliance that totality changed my life to the perspective about him that I have.
Only a part of it is the white man in America, especially seems to me in an indeed peculiar and ironic position to accuse any Black man of hatred. I tell the Black man the truth of a race that enslaved our race to help build America. His rich country, a man who has raped our black foreparents mothers until as a race today we are no longer even Black. A white man who in every one of his wars took us to bleed and die with him, and yet for all this has rewarded us with the back of his hand, and his table scraps for 100 years since the Civil War.
Now, I give my life to be used to benefit America and humanity. That America will learn that the Negro problem is a challenge to America’s consciousness, and that the Negro is America’s problem. As long as America ignores the Negro, America will always be troubled and never be at peace. If my life story helped free the Negro mind to do for himself, his family, and his community, it will help America, then the story of my life would have helped both races in the best interests of humanity to move beyond where we have been, where we are, and be of some use to transform America and the world to make it a better place for us all.
My introduction chapter of my autobiography
(*Parts of it may seem unclear because the man reading from the unpublished chapters kept stuttering and going back.)
Other parts I found:
1. . . The Negro experiences the wrong values, the wrong glamour, the wrong “models of success.”
2. Picture youth seeing success in dope dealers, con men, hustler-hipsters, pimps, big cars, negative media images of his kind, black on black crime and self-destruction in movies. Picture children growing up seeing parents on the welfare relief system
3. The black man’s whole values are distorted that leads many of them to failure. The Negroes’ values and minds are rooted in illusion, unreality and the conditioned Negro’s mind is in an iron clad box.
(There are a total of 5 “missing”, unpublished chapters, which a man bought several years ago at the sale of the Alex Haley Estate. According to several sources, they could possibly be included in newer versions of The Autobiography of Malcolm X)
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