FROM THE DEAD LEVEL: Malcolm X and Me by Hakim Jamal

FROM THE DEAD LEVEL: Malcolm X and Me

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An embarrassing consecration by a disciple whom Malcolm X redeemed from self-hatred, degradation, alcohol and drugs. Jamal enshrines him as a religious leader: ""for Malcolm X politics was secondary."" From the day when he was 14 and first laid eyes on Malcolm (then a dope seller and sharp dresser named Red with money and a gun in Boston's Roxbury ghetto), Jamal (then Allan Donald) took him for his model. When Malcolm began preaching for the Muslims Jamal wandered into the mosque and Malcolm taught him to stop hating black and be a man. Testifying to his reconstructed life Jamal says he owes it all to Malcolm X: ""One day I'd realize Malcolm was God."" After the split with Elijah Muhammad, Jamal followed Malcolm out of the Fruit of Islam; he claims to have seen him in Los Angeles in January 1965, a month before his murder and says that the trip was arranged to look after two sisters The Messenger had impregnated. He paints some thrillerdiller scenes of Muslims stalking Malcolm, marked for death, and confirms the proto-Panther politics he was developing just prior to his death. The last chapters which contain lurid exposes of Elijah's ""zombies"" are as diabolic as Malcolm is pure and they will have obvious interest (despite the lack of any documentation for the ghoulish allegations) for those tracking Malcolm's ideological shifts. The rest is a crude, Koran-thumping excoriation of white devils. Since Malcolm's death Jamal has found no purpose; still off drugs he says he is ""tired"" and -- following his leader -- trying to divest himself of his residual hatred of whites. A marginal addition to the literature of awakened black consciousness badly vitiated by hagiography.

Pub Date: June 9th, 1972
Publisher: Random House