Malcolm X: In Our Own Image

Joe Wood, Editor, Patricia Williams, With, Amiri Baraka, With
Joe Wood, Editor, Patricia Williams, With, Amiri Baraka, With St. Martin's Press $18.95 (246p) ISBN 978-0-312-06609-3
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Paperback - 978-0-385-47141-1
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In this uneven but valuable collection of essays, 14 African American writers assess the legacy of Malcolm X, who, as freelance writer Wood suggests in a thoughtful meditation, ``is as much an American icon . . . as a Black one.'' In the first piece, poet Amiri Baraka sharply criticizes X filmmaker Spike Lee and others for ignoring class struggle; a better opener would have been political scientist Adolph Reed's capable examination of the ``rediscovery'' of Malcolm. Law professor Patricia Williams dissects Clarence Thomas's manipulation of the Malcolm X mystique, while novelist John Edgar Wideman artfully analyzes how author Alex Haley crafted the Autobiography of Malcolm X. Although Malcolm is praised, he is hardly lionized. Cornel West, director of African American Studies at Princeton, critiques Malcolm's Manichean views of race and sex, while others probe his lack of sympathy for his light-skinnned West Indian mother and for women in general. (Nov.)
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