When Malcolm X was assassinated at 39, his book nearly died with him. Today The Autobiography of Malcolm X — a favorite of President Obama and Justice Clarence Thomas alike — stands as a milestone in America’s struggle with race. The Autobiography is also a Horatio Alger tale, following a man’s journey from poverty to crime to militancy to wisdom. Muslims look to Malcolm as a figure of tolerance; a tea party activist claims him for the Right; Public Enemy’s Chuck D tells us, “This book is like food. It ain’t McDonalds — it’s sit down at the table and say grace.” [Broadcast Date: August 27, 2011]
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