This book is a rich and enlightening source of information on Malcolm's final years, focusing on his break from the Nation of Islam and his attempts tThis book is a rich and enlightening source of information on Malcolm's final years, focusing on his break from the Nation of Islam and his attempts to create his own independent following. Goldman demystifies Malcolm from being the bogeyman of the civil rights era and elucidates him as a black revolutionary, human rights activist, and religious leader. Goldman's determination in overcoming the difficulties of writing a white book about Malcolm X truly pay off. This biography is a comprehensive assessment of Malcolm's metamorphoses as a person as well as the internal transformations of his philosophy towards the racial problem in America and its possible solutions.
I am glad this book had little to say of Martin Luther King, Jr., aside from the few encounters between MLK and Malcolm X and a few necessary comparisons and dichotomies between their approaches at the end of the book. Malcolm X is far too often overlooked when we talk about civil rights and black leadership in America because of his tenacity and religion. He was far ahead of his time. He believed in raising up the self-esteem of black Americans and empowering them to enrich their communities with a black identity as opposed to simply being slaves to white America. He saw the flaws in MLK's nonviolent appeal to white America that perhaps we are only beginning to realize today. Malcolm saw the futility in trying to integrate with a group of people that were only capable of harboring hate and racism. Instead he wanted to focus on the black communities--the ghettos and the slums--and encouraged black people to raise themselves up out of deplorable conditions and make themselves self-reliant. He saw MLK's efforts as far too dependent on the conscience of white people (and often argued if they had a conscience at all--history offers the opinion that they didn't), and would rather have some of that white power transferred back into the hands of the black communities. It's unfortunate that during his time, people chose to disregard Malcolm's message out of fear and anxiety.
"The dream was ennobling but doomed. It was Malcolm's curse to see this before most of the rest of us; it was the beginning of his sainthood that when black Americans reached that point--when they arrived, that is to say, at their blackness--Malcolm was already there."...more
Beautiful writing, but towards the end Codrescu bordered on elitism. I get that New Orleans has a rich culture all its own, but Codrescu treated New OBeautiful writing, but towards the end Codrescu bordered on elitism. I get that New Orleans has a rich culture all its own, but Codrescu treated New Orleans as the greatest place on earth and anyone who doesn't live there is seen as a boring, uncultured zombie....more
Illuminating view of how alcohol is deeply embedded into American politics, economics, and social structure. Lots of facts and figures. Really handy rIlluminating view of how alcohol is deeply embedded into American politics, economics, and social structure. Lots of facts and figures. Really handy reference and piece of history....more