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Abstract

This article both reviews Manning Marable’s Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention and reflects more broadly upon Malcolm X’s political trajectory and human rights activism in the context of American, African-American, and international history. It seeks to analyze the meanings of Malcolm X’s rhetoric, social background, and global ambitions, in particular vis-à-vis the civil rights movement, the geopolitics of the Cold War, and the place of the United States in the wider world. It also focuses on the strengths and limitations of Marable’s approach to Malcolm X’s career and on the distinctions between humanizing Malcolm X and historicizing him. The essay concludes with some speculations on the implications that Malcolm X’s life and death might have for understanding public affairs today. But it is really at the international level that Malcolm's life after death has had particular resonance; recent anecdotal (and sometimes disturbing) evidence abounds.

Citation

Temkin, Moshik. "From Black Revolution to 'Radical Humanism': Malcolm X Between Biography and International History." Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development 3.2 (Summer 2012): 267-288.