92 pages 3 hours read

Malcolm X, Alex Haley

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 1965

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Chapters 16-18

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 16 Summary: “Out”

In 1961, Elijah Muhammad’s respiratory condition worsens. By this point, he is living in Phoenix, Arizona, for its drier climate. The fact that he is too sick to speak at rallies is the first sign to rank-and-file Nation of Islam members that something is seriously wrong with their leader.

Around this same time, Malcolm hears that Elijah Muhammad and some members of his inner circle are speaking ill of Malcolm. They claim that Malcolm wants to take over the organization, even though he mentions “the Honorable Elijah Muhammad” (335) roughly once per minute in each speech. They also claim that Malcolm’s fame has brought him riches, even though he owns virtually no assets aside from his modest house and car. Malcolm’s claims of modest finances are supported by the fact that the I.R.S. has yet to go after him.

In 1962, Malcolm notices that the Muhammad Speaks newspaper he founded mentions him less and less until he is completely absent from its pages. While he does not mind the lack of publicity, he regrets that the paper now fails to report on important events because they happen to involve him.

Around 1963, Malcolm speaks less and less about moral conduct.