Last Updated on May 17, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 416
Alex Haley: the person to whom Malcolm tells his autobiography, and writer of the autobiography’s epilogue
Ossie Davis: popular actor and friend of Malcolm, who eulogized Malcolm
Reverend Milton Galamison: militant clergyman, who was scheduled to be the co-speaker with Malcolm at the Audubon Ballroom on the day Malcolm was assassinated
Brother Benjamin X: Malcolm’s assistant at the Muslim Mosque, Inc.
Stanley Scott: United Press International reporter who was at the Audubon Ballroom when Malcolm was assassinated
Bishop Alvin A. Childs: Malcolm’s funeral was held at his church, Church of God in Christ
In this chapter, Alex Haley traces his two-year association with Malcolm X. Initially, Malcolm was reluctant to reveal intimate details about his past to Haley. However, Haley’s thoughtful, probing questions soon put Malcolm at ease. Haley uncovers Malcolm X—the child, the criminal, and finally, the dynamic, influential political activist and African-American leader. Haley spends countless hours with Malcolm, and the two men develop a close friendship. Malcolm shares his concerns about his premonition of death at the hands of followers of the Nation of Islam.
Haley offers a detailed account of the events following Malcolm’s assassination at the Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965. After being shot 16 times, Malcolm was taken to Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. He was dead upon arrival.
Several Harlem churches turned down requests to allow his funeral to take place on their premises. The funeral was held at Harlem’s Church of God in Christ. Bishop Childs, who officiated at the funeral service, received numerous bomb threats at his church and his home.
Prominent African Americans expressed their remorse upon learning about the death of Malcolm X, including Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, a famous psychologist; James Baldwin, an author and dramatist; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a popular civil rights leader; James Farmer, CORE’s (Congress of Racial Equality) National Director; and a large number of national and international leaders.
The Epilogue gives the reader a unique opportunity to gain insight into the thought processes of Malcolm during the creation of his autobiography. Malcolm’s honesty and candor with Haley is evident throughout.
Haley had great respect and admiration for Malcolm. His final comments effectively sum up the book. He says, “I tried to be a dispassionate chronicler. But he was the most electric personality I have ever met, and I still can’t quite conceive him dead. It still feels to me as if he has just gone into some next chapter, to be written by historians.”
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