Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
Reviewed by Kevin Farley, Collection Librarian for the Humanities
"My whole life," Malcolm X observes toward the end of his groundbreaking autobiography, "had been a chronology of -- changes." One of America's most profound social philosophers, and a dedicated religious leader, Malcolm X brings to bear on each page of his life story the unflinching imperative to examine the causes and consequences of the social injustices -- the devastation (physical, emotional, and spiritual) that racism seeks to inflict -- that constrain and prevent transformation. Change is the key theme of the life of Malcolm X, as he spares no one, and especially not himself, from the imperative to examine, reflect, understand, critique, evaluate and re-evaluate, transform and change whatever form of injustice, whether conscious or unconscious, that hinders the progress of truth. From a directionless life, to a life of focused determination, to serve his faith and free himself and others from illusions, Malcolm X's influence continues the work of change and transformation, more than forty years after his death in 1965. "Despite my firm convictions," he wrote after his historic journey to Mecca in 1964, "I have been always a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth."