The Autobiography of Malcolm X

by: Malcolm X & Alex Haley

Malcolm as Malcolm X

As Minister Malcolm X, Malcolm develops confidence and credibility as a religious leader and media personality. Malcolm carefully shapes the identity and significance of this persona. As he rises in the ranks of the Nation of Islam to take over from the ailing Elijah Muhammad, the press pays close attention to his philosophies, allowing him to disseminate his message widely. Although his public statements do not initially depart from the Nation of Islam’s party line, Malcolm eventually begins to broaden his message to address white America. As the shock-value media personality Malcolm X, he calls for a more active approach to domestic racial politics, and his influence in American society shows the effectiveness with which he has shaped his persona. After a trip to Africa, Malcolm X counsels blacks to align themselves with the nonwhite majority internationally, illustrating his general tendency to let the wisdom he gains from his experiences influence his attitudes.