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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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Index of Terms

The Black Legion

The Black Legion was a White supremacist terrorist organization operating in the Midwest during the 1930s. It was an offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan, which at that time was hemorrhaging members after a prominent KKK leader raped and murdered a young White woman. The Black Legion burned down Malcolm’s childhood home in Lansing and murdered his father Earl, though no charges were ever brought against its members.

Black Nationalism

Black nationalism is a broad cultural movement that prizes Blackness as a racial and national identity. From there, the tenets of Black nationalist movements can vary greatly, from Marcus Garvey’s Pan-African movement, which sought to unite all indigenous and diaspora groups of African descent, to the Nation of Islam, which wedded Black nationalism to Islam, to the Black Panther Party, which focused on self-defense and economic welfare at the community level.

Conk

A “conk” is a method of straightening one’s hair by applying burning lye to the scalp. To Malcolm, conking one’s hair is a symbolic representation of the extent to which young Black men and women internalize the precepts of White supremacy as they endeavor to look “more White.”

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