cover image Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X

Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X

Michael Eric Dyson, Micheal Eric Dyson. Oxford University Press, USA, $25 (248pp) ISBN 978-0-19-509235-6

Dyson sees Malcolm X as a symbol of the self-discipline, self-esteem and moral leadership necessary to combat the spiritual and economic corruption of poor African American communities. This thoughtful, scholarly essay on the charismatic political leader, assassinated in 1965, scrutinizes his reemergence as a cultural hero. Dyson, a Baptist minister and professor of communications at the University of North Carolina, calls for a new progressive black politics anchored in radical democracy, redistribution of wealth through taxation and restructuring of opportunities for the neediest. The legacy of both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. to progressive blacks, he maintains, is the imagination and energy to build bridges with Latinos, gays, feminists, environmental activists and others seeking equality and economic democracy. Calling the Malcolm portrayed in Spike Lee's recent film ``a potent and valuable figure,'' Dyson nevertheless faults Lee for leaving largely untouched Malcolm's broadening of his ideological perspective in his final years. (Nov.)