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July 29, 2008

Malcolm X By Any Means Necessary

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Malcolm X By Any Means Necessary

Author: Walter Dean Myers        

Page Length: 210

Reading Level: 5

Genre: Biography 

PLOT SUMMARY: Malcolm X was born the son of Louise and Earl Little on May 19,1925 in Omaha, Nebraska.  Both parents were active in trying to make life better for African Americans, and Earl spoke publicly endorsing Marcus Garvey.  In 1931, Earl was found dead by some railroad tracks and Louise believed whites that opposed his political views killed him.

 Malcolm was a good and popular student, but always felt a threat to Black Americans.  As Malcolm ended junior high, one of his teachers ask him what he wanted to do when he got older.  Malcolm answered by saying that he would like to be a lawyer.  In a quote on page 37 the teacher tells Malcolm that he could not be a lawyer.  This was a turning point in Malcolm’s life.

From this point in Malcolm’s life, the book follows his years as a teen-ager in Harlem where he is known as “Detroit Red”, then, he joins the Nation of Islam, and changes his name again, to Malcolm X.  Malcolm is in the public eye as a Black Muslim leader for the rest of his life.

REVIEW:  After reading other books by Walter Dean Myers, such as Slam, Fallen Angels, and Monster I found I did not like Myers non-fiction writing as well as his fiction.  It could be because I didn’t like the personality of Malcolm X and the way he tried to get equality for African Americans.  He was extremely prejudiced towards the white Americans and in a violent manner.  His actions seemed to undermine the works of other civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, Frederick Douglas, and Jackie Robinson. 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Historical context, Sequence of Events, Conflict, Compare/Contrast

RELATED BOOKS: The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X Speaks: Speeches and Statements, Malcolm X A Fire Burning Brightly


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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