AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X
Some Questions To Consider
If you were to provide the Autobiography of Malcolm X with a sub-title, what would it be? Why?
How would you begin to use the Autobiography of Malcolm X as an historical source? What can we learn through its study? What themes would you highlight?
What’s in a name? In four stages of his life, Malcolm X was successively known as Malcolm Little, Detroit Red, Malcolm X and el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz? How did each name used reflect that period in his life? What events had the most impact upon him during this period of his life? What else influenced him during this time? How does Malcolm X’s understanding of racial identity change over the course of his life?
How does the issue of slavery – as history, as reference point and as metaphor – inform the Autobiography of Malcolm X? To what extent can the book be likened to a slave narrative?
Do you think that Malcolm X considered himself a civil rights leader? What does he have to say about the Civil Rights Movement and how would you respond to his analysis here? How would you compare and contrast the issues faced by the blacks of Harlem with those faced by people living in the rural American South?
How does Malcolm X compare and contrast Christianity and Islam?
How would you describe Malcolm X’s attitudes towards Jews?
What role do women play in the Autobiography of Malcolm X? How would you characterize Malcolm X’s attitudes towards women? How does he explore the relationship between gender and race?
How does Malcolm X understand international relations? What does Africa seem to mean to him?
What did you learn about the Nation of Islam from this book? Who was W.D. Fard? Elijah Muhammad? How would you begin to summarize and analyze the ideology and theology of the Nation of Islam?
Did Malcolm X preach violence or hatred?
To what extent does the Autobiography of Malcolm X offer any new perspectives on either the Depression or World War II?
What significance would you attach to the 1999 issue of a Malcolm X stamp by the U.S. Postal Service? How would you compare and contrast Malcolm X and Che Guevara as iconic popular culture figures?
Some Extra Resources