Release:2021, Vol. 7. № 2 (26)
About the author:Andrey A. Shumakov, Cand. Sci. (Hist.), Associate Professor, Department of Humanities, Tula Branch of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics; firstname.lastname@example.org
The figure of the radical African-American preacher Malcolm X has always occupied and continues to occupy a special place in the history of the protest movement of the 1960s. This is due to a number of reasons, the main of which was the pronounced ambivalence and inconsistency of the political philosophy of this public figure, who was noted for both ultra-radical religious sermons and rather progressive revolutionary and national liberation ideas at the final stage of his life. The latter, in fact, made him one of the main characters of the “rebellious decade”. While the far-right radicalism of the Harlem preacher faded into the background and began to be perceived as some “mistakes and misconceptions” that were later rethought and overcome.
The question of assessing the legacy and personality of Malcolm X has always caused a lot of controversy. On the one hand, his contribution to the development of the movement of the struggle of the Black population for their rights and the formation of the African-American mentality is undeniable; on the other — it can be said that in the academic environment for all this time they practically were not subjected to critical reflection. If, during his lifetime, the ideas of the Harlem preacher were perceived by the vast majority of Americans as frankly marginal, then after his tragic death in 1965, Malcolm X became one of the most popular and iconic figures in recent US history. Any criticism of him began to be perceived extremely painfully.
In this article, the author tried to trace the process of formation and evolution of the ideological and political views of Malcolm X, which was the main goal of the study. The main difference from other works on this topic was that in this article, this phenomenon is considered in dynamics, the causes of transformations and the influence of related factors are noted. At the same time, the author tried to identify certain “variables and constants” of the religious and political philosophy of Malcolm X, not only fixing them, but assessing the degree and depth of changes. That led to rather unexpected conclusions on a number of issues, the main of which was the explanation of the reasons for the incredible popularity of Malcolm X in modern American society.
The main method of research is materialistic dialectics, which allows considering the political philosophy of Malcolm X in dynamics in accordance with the principle of historicism. Special attention is paid to the issues of radicalism, the transformation of ideological and political views and attitudes to religion, the debunking of myths, stereotypical and hyperbolized ideas about this figure, and the key milestones of his biography. As for the specific historical methods, the historical-genetic and historical-typological approaches are used in this work.
Akhmetshin R. I., Bodrov O. V. 2016. “Malcolm X as an exponent of new trends in the African-American political culture of the United States in 1950-1960s”. Vestnik KazGUKI. 2016, no. 3, pp. 39-43. [In Russian]
Mitrokhin L.N. 1974. The Afro-American Movement in the United States: Ideology and Practice. Moscow: Mysl. 200 pp. [In Russian]
Mikheeva A. N. 2004. “Malcolm X. and Islam”. Evraziyskiy zhurnal regionalnykh i politicheskikh issledovaniy, no. 1 (4), pp. 75-80. [In Russian]
Rogov E. M. 2013. Malcolm X. A glance from the Russian ghetto. Moscow: Algoritm. 240 pp. [In Russian]
Hristenko D. N. 2018. “The political way of Malcolm X: from African-American radical to leader of the struggle for civil rights”. Vestnik Severnogo (Arkticheskogo) federalnogo universiteta. Seriya: Gumanitarnye i social’nye nauki, no. 4, pp. 15-25. [In Russian]
Asante M. K. 2002. 100 Greatest African Americans: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Amhert, N. Y.: Prometheus Books. 350 pp.
Burnett L. The International Malcolm X. Accessed 26 May 2021. https://crossculturalsolidarity.com/the-international-malcolm-x/
Cone J. H. 1991. Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books. 358 pp.
Malcolm X. FBI files, Reel #2.
Malcolm X. 1965. Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements. Edited by G. Breitman. New York: Merit Publishers; Grove Weidenfeld. 226 pp.
Malcolm X. 1963. “Scores U. S. and Kennedy”. The New York Times, 2 December.
Malcolm X. 1965. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. With the assistance of A. Haley. New York: Grove Press.
Malcolm X. 1989. The End of White World Supremacy: Four Speeches by Malcolm X. Edited by B. Karim. New York. 148 pp.
Marable W. M. 2003. Freedom on My Mind: The Columbia Documentary History of the African American Experience. Edited by M. Marable, N. Frazier, J. C. McMillian. New York: Columbia University Press. 734 pp.
Paris P. J. 1978. Black Leaders in Conflict. New York: The Pilgrim Press. 254 pp.
Patler N. From Mecca to Selma: Malcolm X, Islam and the Civil Rights Movement. Accessed 26 May 2021. http://www.theislamicmonthly.com/mecca-to-selma/
Salley C. 1999. The Black 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential African-Americans, Past and Present. New York: Citadel Press.