Chapter 19 Summary: 1965

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Last Updated on May 17, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 625

Summary

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In 1964, Malcolm embarks upon a large-scale campaign to gain support for his new organization. He holds public meetings and appears on numerous televison and radio programs. The American media continues its attack on Malcolm, calling him “the angriest Negro in America.”

He revisits the Middle East and Africa, and has meetings with many world and religious leaders. Among the prominent world leaders with whom he has private audiences are President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt; President Jomo Kenyatta, of Kenya; and Prime Minister Dr. Milton Obote of Uganda.

Upon his return to the United States, he continues his crusade to fight racism, renaming his organization the Organization of Afro-American Unity. He begins reaching out to white Americans. He writes about his new insight, “the white man is not inherently evil, but American’s racist society influences him to act evilly. The society has produced and nourishes a psychology which brings out the lowest, most base part of human beings.” Malcolm advises, “Let sincere white individuals find all other white people they can who feel as they do—and let them form their own all-white groups, to work trying to convert other white people who are thinking and acting so racist. Let sincere whites go and teach non-violence to white people.”

Toward the end of the chapter, Malcolm ominously predicts his own death. “I know that societies often have killed the people who have helped to change those societies,” he declares. “And if I can die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth that will help to destroy the racist cancer that is malignant in the body of America—then, all of the credit is due to Allah.”

Analysis

In this final chapter of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm emerges as a powerful, though tragic, figure. The reader is struck by the clear, matter-of-fact tone he uses as he describes the apprehensions he has about his own future, and prophesizes his death. He acknowledges, “Every morning when I wake up, now, I regard it as having another borrowed day. In any city ... black men are watching every move I make, awaiting their chance to kill me. I have said publicly many times that I know that they have their orders.”

Reflecting upon his life, Malcolm writes, “I believe that it would be almost impossible to find anywhere in America a black man who has lived further down in the mud of human society than I have ... or a black man who has suffered more anguish during his life than I have. But it is only after the deepest darkness that the greatest joy can come; it is only after slavery and prison that the sweetest appreciation of freedom can come ... I do believe that I have fought the best that I knew how, and the best that I could.” Unfortunately, most of what Malcolm predicts regarding how he will be perceived after his death has come true. He says, “I do not expect to live long enough to read this book in its finished form—I want you to just watch and see if I’m not right in what I say: that the white man, in his press, is going to identify me with ‘hate.’”

Finally, Malcolm explains his purpose in writing an autobiography, as he considers his experience to be a universal one among African Americans. “It might prove to be a testimony of some social value....” he writes. “I hope, that the objectve reader, in following my life—the life of only one ghetto-created Negro—may gain a better picture and understanding than he has previously had of the black ghettoes which are shaping the lives and the thinking of all of the 22 million Negroes who live in America.”

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