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Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention

Manning Marable “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention”

Malcolm X is known as the master of reinvention. He grew from a petty criminal to a one of the most influential men American history has ever known. He is a figure that championed hope, pursuit of happiness, liberty and life amongst the African-American community and the whole world at large. This critical response paper reveals the life of Malcolm X as reinvention in the center of a contemporary African-American history. It also describes the contradictory and complex political and religious beliefs of the icon.

Impact of the Historic Period on Malcolm’s Life

Malcolm X is one of the most outstanding persons in the 20th century. He was one of the most respected and admired men. In addition, he was treated as one of the most feared and hated African-American men from his generations. During the historic period of 1920’s to 1960’s, the African-American people were oppressed intensely. They were placed at the bottom in all the economic and social structures in America. During this historic period, the black men struggled against violence and racist’s discrimination, and they fought for equality and not social separation.

The struggles and racist’s discrimination during this period had a big impact on Malcolm X‘s life. He became the voice for the African-American people and the defenseless. He was able to rise above political hypocrisy and exposed the heart of oppression and racism in the society. The lessons that the legendary taught are crucial to date. Malcolm X became a reformist or a social democrat, and all he did was for the sake of African-American people or society. He initiated committees, founded a black radical congress in order to serve and take care of the poor, minorities and the workers interests. Malcolm X was greatly influenced by neocolonial and colonial struggles that led to the oppression of the black people. These attributes cultivated his political ambitions and turned him into a multicultural American icon. However, Malcolm’s political views and reinventions led to his early or premature death through an assassination in 1965.

Impact of the American history on Manning’s Malcolm X

During the historic period, there were many complains and protests against restrictive housing of the African-American people. This continued to be a problem until in the early 1960’s when the African-American population was allowed to join trade unions. The percentage of black people living in residential houses increased at a big percentage.  This had a positive impact on Malcolm.  

The controversial and complex American history defined Malcolm X to become a minister, a leader, an icon and a criminal. The political views initiated and prompted Malcolm X to change political views. During this period, the African-American people were not empowered within the existing American system. This pushed and caused the icon to do his best by recessing a movement for conventional liberal protests. In this way, he emphasized the grassroots of the African-American people and encouraged them to participate in politics. Malcolm X also cultivated an agreement with other third world nations. This was because he intended to achieve leverage and racial empowerment for the African-American people.

After the World War I, the African-American people migrated to the north in order to escape poverty and find freedom. However, in America, they faced segregation and race color oppression. This simply means that the African-American people were not allowed to live and work within the American system. However, Malcolm X strongly denounced this perspective. He fought and stood for the rights of the African-American people. This not only influenced his attributes and contributions to the black society liberation, but also contributed to his growth and development  to one of the most outstanding icons of the 20th century. This also contributed to his growth and development as an African-American leader and a voice for the defenseless. His dream was to see the African-American achieved racial empowerment and liberation from separation and racism.

How did Malcolm Impact the Historic Times?

As a human activist and a Muslim leader, Malcolm X greatly impacted the historical times. During this time, he advocated for the separation of whites and blacks. He also advocated for African-American supremacy. He became the most influential people in history. Malcolm was responsible for the spread of the Muslim religion amongst the African-American in America. He was also responsible for reconnecting the African-American to their African heritage or their grass roots. He also contributed to history when he advocated for better equalities for the African-American people. Many reviews on the same have suggested that Malcolm attributed, encouraged and fought for the African-American freedom. Freedom from racism was one of Malcolm X greatest achievements. Malcolm’s teachings became a foundation or part of a foundation which helped to develop and build the African-American movements from the past till nowadays. Malcolm X is still one of the most respected African-American who brought liberty from racism and influenced the inclusion of the African-American into the American system.

Malcolm X is not only important in the shaping of the American history, but he is also important in shaping the national culture of the same. In the recent times, Malcolm X day is commemorated in the United States on the day of Malcolm’s birthday. Many schools and cities have been named after him in order to apply tribute to the historic change that he initiated and helped to achieve. It is doubtful, if Malcolm X had not represented the African-American people, would the people have achieved the freedom they have today?

Malcolm had a very great impact on African-American arts. He not only influenced poetry, but he also influenced other literary and artistic works. This was because of his speech rhythms and his beliefs that showed a sense of poetry. He initiated and encouraged African-American power, which was associated later with separation from American domination and self defense. In this way, the African-American took pride on who they were.  It is important to note that the African-American art movements, which were founded by Malcolm X, advocated for the revolution of cultural ideas and art.

The Malcolm X’s assassination in 1965 led to or propelled declarations, definitive moves and many different forces. After his death the civil rights movement officially ended the African-American power and formed a social movement that joined the activists. However, Malcolm’s principals remained important and vital to the African-American community from the historic period to date. Malcolm impacted history by becoming one of founders of a movement that enhanced social engagements at a national reach level. This led to the development and creation of the depression revolutionary literature. This literature entails the work oriented and initiated by the icon. In view of the above, Malcolm succeeded greatly in painting a complex yet spectacular portrait of a black man who is in search of his place and himself in America. His struggles as a human being helped him to tune in to the struggles of other African- Americans.  In this way, he impacted not only the lives of the American community but changed history, as well.

Malcolm X had an impact on the historic times because he influenced the African American politics from the historic times to date. He succeeded in his desperate quest to change the situation regarding the African-American community in the past and the modern times.

American vision offered by Malcolm X vs. Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King was raised in a very comfortable background while Malcolm X was raised in a very poor family. In this case, Martin was happy and secure despite the segregation. On the other hand, Malcolm X suffered the effects and consequences of the segregation. Taking into consideration this fact, Malcolm grew up in fear, bitterness and anger. This background greatly influenced their contribution as American visionaries. However, both men had great influence on the African-Americans and became great icons of the historical times or period. Malcolm X believed that it was impossible to achieve equality because the white people had no moral conscience.  However, Martin believed that the two races would be more peaceful if they united to live in peace. This simply means that Malcolm X advocated for separation while Martin Kin advocated for the two cultures to unite. This led to his adaptation of the integration philosophy.

It is important to note that both men were very great speakers, and they influenced many African-American people. They both attributed for and preached hope in America. However, Martin advocated for the difference in America. On the other hand, Malcolm took a more extreme approach. He encouraged the African-American people to hate and riot. Alternatively Martin took a more calm approach and advocated for peace amongst the whites and blacks.

American Vision Provided by Malcolm X

According to Malcolm X, Americans were a sinking ship, thus encouraged and advised African-Americans not to be integrated into the ship. He argued that the only way to offer the black society hope in America was to separate the whites and blacks. Malcolm X advised all the African-American people to reject and do away with their last names because it was a more acceptable culture in the white community. Malcolm claimed that the integration of the white and the black community was simply fiction and was not his goal. He also justified retaliation by arguing that blacks were also brutally attacked by the white community. The American visionary that Malcolm provided was hope for the African-American people through separation from the white community. The other visionary that he advocated for was hate, anger and bitterness towards the white race. He also advocated for reconstructing equality in the American system.

Assessment of the Pros and Cons of the Vision

According to my assessment of the pros and cons of Malcolm X’s vision, Malcolm X was a better civil rights leader as compared to Martin King Luther. This is because he first handily experienced prejudice and racism. However, Malcolm X’s violence stance helped only to add injury to fire. Malcolm X stood for the rights of the minorities but regardless to his stance on the same, achieving his goals by violence and killings were the same as justifying an injustice by committing another injustice. His message and vision for America is very important and vital in the history of the African-American liberation. However, if the community were to follow all Malcolm X’s principals, then violence and killings would be ramparted all over the United States of America.

In relation to what I have understood so far in class lectures and readings, Malcolm’s vision supports violence in the name of self defense. On the other hand, Malcolm appears as a simply and harmless defender who is defending the African-American community. He also empowers and encourages his audiences to develop a different attitude or a trickster’s consciousness. Some of the doctrines portray Malcolm as a leader who had a rhetorical vision. This is because Malcolm’s attempts to communicate or address political, as well as religious factors and matters. In my view, Malcolm X gave his audience a vital tool that they needed to accept and resist.

Malcolm X’s Reinvention Revolution vs. Martin Luther King Reinvention Revolution

Malcolm X lived a life of reinvention revolution. Martin King Luther and Malcolm X are immortal in the thoughts of many people. They still live in the enlightened and unified America. Malcolm X is accused of distorting and deconstructing the legacy of a revolutionist Martin Luther Jr. However, Malcolm developed his own position on his religious and political landscape. He insisted that the only way to achieve potential and value in politics and religion was through military mobilization and self defense. On the other hand, Martin Luther king used a peaceful approach to achieve the same.


Many critics have questioned why Malcolm X who had a life of reinvention preferred to distance his outer world with his inner. He presented himself to the African-American community as an African American who was a trickster and hustler but also a preacher, minister and leader. Many people in the modern times have likened him to a liberal republican. Malcolm X left a very complex, interesting and extraordinary legacy.

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