American Icons: The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Monday, February 10th at 8PM on 93.9 FM and AM 820

Monday, February 10, 2014 - 08:00 AM

Malcolm X Feature Card_BIG2

This is an American revolution set down on the page.

When Malcolm X was assassinated at 39, his book nearly died with him. Today The Autobiography of Malcolm X — a favorite of President Obama and Justice Clarence Thomas alike — stands as a milestone in America’s struggle with race. The Autobiography is also a Horatio Alger tale, following a man’s journey from poverty to crime to militancy to wisdom. Muslims look to Malcolm as a figure of tolerance; a tea party activist claims him for the Right; Public Enemy’s Chuck D tells us, “This book is like food. It ain’t McDonalds — it’s sit down at the table and say grace.”

 

The Autobiography of Malcolm X was produced by Derek John and Lu Olkowski and edited by David Krasnow. The actor Dion Graham read passages from the book.

 

Bonus Track: Painting an Icon
Artist Charles Lilly's painting of Malcolm X adorns the cover of the Ballantine Books edition of The Autobiography. In this bonus cut, he explains his famous work.

 

Bonus Track: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar remembers Malcolm X
NBA Hall of Fame member Kareem Abdul-Jabbar talks about hearing Malcolm X speak as a teenager in Harlem and the profound impact The Autobiography had on him in college.

 

Video: Studio 360 tours Alex Haley's writing studio

'The Autobiography of Malcolm X,' first edition hardcover
Credit: Melvin Reeves, Permission courtesy of Barney Rosset
The first-edition hardcover of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, published in 1965 by Grove Press.
'The Autobiography of Malcolm X,' first edition paperback
Credit: Kyle Pellett, Permission courtesy of Barney Rosset
The first-edition Grove Press paperback of The Autobiography of Malcolm X
'The Autobiography of Malcolm X,' Ballantine Books paperback
Courtesy of Ballantine Books
The Ballantine Books paperback edition of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. This version features a painting of Malcolm X by Charley Lilly.
Malcolm X waits at Martin Luther King press conference
Credit: Marion S. Trikosko, Courtesy of The Library of Congress
Malcolm X didn’t live long enough to see his story in print, but it has had a profound impact on the Civil Rights movement for generations.
Martin Luther King and Malcolm X waiting for press conference
Credit: Marion S. Trikosko, Courtesy of The Library of Congress

Malcolm X, like Martin Luther King, was a powerful speaker.  But according to Columbia University professor Manning Marable, Malcolm X’s emphasis on self defense, pride, and African heritage, presented a different, more provocative message than King’s.

Malcolm X with reporters
Credit: Herman Hiller, Courtesy of The Library of Congress
Malcolm X was an incredibly persuasive speaker. Professor Manning Marable says that he converted a white cop from New York who had only heard him through a wiretap.
Alex Haley at typewriter
Courtesy of Bill Haley
Alex Haley wrote The Autobiography of Malcolm X based on a series of interviews. Haley and Malcolm initially had very different views on the type of book they would create.
Alex Haley's Hamilton College ID
Courtesy of Bill Haley
Alex Haley’s Hamilton College ID card. Haley was a writer-in-residence at the college.
Barney Rosset with producer Derek John
Credit: Lu Olkowski

Barney Rosset, founder of Grove Press, with producer Derek John.  After Malcolm X was murdered, Doubleday decided not to publish The Autobiography of Malcolm X, allowing Grove Press to secure the manuscript for $20,000.

Barney Rosset with 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X'
Credit: Lu Olkowski
Barney Rosset holds his personal first-edition paperback of The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
Charles Lilly with his portrait of Malcolm X
Credit: Derek John
Artist Charles Lilly stands next to his famous painting of Malcolm X. The painting is featured on the Ballantine paperback edition of The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
Chuck D
Credit: Henry Adebonojo
Rapper Chuck D says The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a “book that should be read every 5 years, for a black man especially.”
Chuck D with poster of Malcolm X
Credit: Derek John
Chuck D, at home with a poster of Malcolm X.
Poster of Malcolm X in Chuck D's home
Credit: Derek John
A poster of Malcolm X, displayed in the home of rapper Chuck D.
Malcolm X Shabazz High School
Credit: Derek John
The stadium outside Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark, New Jersey.
Ms. Crawford's board
Credit: Derek John
Lauretta Crawford’s classroom at Malcolm X Shabazz High School.
Ms. Crawford's chalkboard
Credit: Derek John
The blackboard in Lauretta Crawford’s classroom, where students study The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
Students at Shabazz High School
Credit: Derek John
Students at Malcom X Shabazz High School in Newark, New Jersey, where teacher Lauretta Crawford uses The Autobiography of Malcolm X to try to reach her class.
The autobiography on a desk
Credit: Derek John
Shabazz High School student Lamar Clark says The Autobiography of Malcolm X has shown him “nothing is impossible.”
Ms. Crawford poses by a mural at Shabazz High School
Credit: Derek John
Teacher Lauretta Crawford poses in front of a mural at Malcolm X Shabazz High School.

Guests:

Marcellus Blount, Chuck D, Gerald Early, Peter Goldman, Bill Haley, Jamal Joseph, Eddie Glaude, Jr., Manning Marable, Lenny McAllister, Barney Rosset and Ilyasah Shabazz

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