Malcolm X | Critical Review by Mel Watkins

This literature criticism consists of approximately 2 pages of analysis & critique of Malcolm X.
This section contains 308 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Mel Watkins

Critical Review by Mel Watkins

SOURCE: A review of The Speeches of Malcolm X at Harvard, in New York Times Book Review, April 13, 1969, pp. 24-5.

In the following review, Watkins asserts that The Speeches of Malcolm X at Harvard effectively conveys the essence of Malcolm X's "radical viewpoint" and "approach to the racial problem."

Malcolm X, prior to his death in 1965, found most of his support in the urban ghetto masses. His growing posthumous appeal to the élite of the black community reflects the pervasive character of the black man's militancy; Malcolm X has become, to many black Americans, the symbol of manhood. This volume, [The Speeches of Malcolm X at Harvard,] includes, in addition to Malcolm's Harvard speeches, an introductory "inquiry" into the validity of the militant's radical viewpoint.

The most interesting aspect of the Harvard speeches is the discernible shift in position which occurs between Malcolm's initial appearance as Muslim minister in 1961 and his last appearance, following a pilgrimage to Mecca in December of 1964. His perspective remains racist and violent (he had not yet publicly adopted the more humanitarian stance taken shortly before his assassination), but his polemics had moved from a sectarian religious foundation to a more realistic secular one. Excepting the first, the three speeches are presented in their entirety. Archie Epps's minor editing does not detract from the wit and high rhetoric of the original transcripts; and Malcolm's direct, albeit sometimes logically extenuated, approach to the racial problem is clearly shown.

Epps's long introduction, while more reasoned than the speeches, is often more obscure. He points out the ultimate uselessness of Malcolm's call to violence and shows the extent to which his early experiences, particularly his hustler background, influenced his radical viewpoint. He also incisively notes that Malcolm's true legacy is the sense of racial pride that he left with the black man.

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This section contains 308 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Mel Watkins
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