The Autobiography of Malcolm X

by: Malcolm X & Alex Haley

Malcolm as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz

When Malcolm leaves the Nation of Islam, he adopts the name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and begins arguing for worldwide racial tolerance. Though Malcolm, as El-Shabazz, claims that his rapid turnaround to racial tolerance in Mecca is due to the “colorblindness” of the Muslim societies of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the events in the autobiography foreshadow Malcolm’s change of heart. Even as Malcolm X, Malcolm begins to question the extremist message of the Nation of Islam. Malcolm’s decision to take the title El-Hajj after making the pilgrimage to Mecca (a religious duty called “hajjin Arabic) symbolizes his faith in international Islam. Additionally, his calls for white groups to work for racial justice and his attempts to integrate the struggles of black Americans with the struggles of oppressed nonwhite peoples everywhere reveal how his perspective on race relations has matured. Whereas Malcolm’s earlier political activism, such as his militant advocacy of black separatism, is marked by hostility, his later activism seeks to create racial harmony.