The murder of Malcolm X cannot be reduced to an incident in an underworld conflict over material loot or social spoils. The sophisticated and intelligent ex-con who had been rebaptized Malcolm X by the Black Muslims, was publicly killed for ideological reasons, that is, he was assassinated. This culturally symbolic murder of the apostate apostle reverberates throughout American Negro society, bemuses the whites, and is viewed abroad, particularly in Africa and Asia, as another spectacular example of the American habit of self defeat. Why does the death of Malcolm thrust the issue of the Negro, like a lance, into the American body-politic?
First, it is necessary to understand the Black Muslims, not as racketeers, but as revivalis...
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