GHOSTS IN OUR BLOOD by Jan Carew

GHOSTS IN OUR BLOOD

With Malcolm X in Africa, England, and the Caribbean
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A brief, somewhat disjointed exploration of Malcolm X's final philosophy and his mother's background, by a Caribbean-born scholar who met Malcolm in his last days. Forget the overblown subtitle. Carew (Center for Comparative Study of the Humanities/Lincoln Univ.) didn't follow Malcolm around the globe. An editor of the black British newspaper Magnet, Carew met Malcolm in December 1964, after he had broken with the Nation of Islam, visited Mecca twice, and embraced universalist notions of the fight against oppression. Carew reports their conversations, as well as conversations with friends about Malcolm, in long, sometimes dubious verbatim quotes. In response to Carew's questions about his politics, Malcolm declares, pensively but not too revealingly, ``I'm a Muslim and a revolutionary, and I'm learning more and more about political theories as the months go by.'' Carew reconstructs some of Malcolm's historic speeches in London by talking with his former host at the Oxford Union, who says, ``To see Oxford bend down at the knees to a Black man was remarkable.'' Malcolm's mother, Louise Little, was born in Grenada, and the Guyana-born Carew told Malcolm of the caste and class notions she would have brought with her, as well as revealing some of his own autobiography. Malcolm said he wished he knew more about his mother, who was a staunch follower of Marcus Garvey before her commitment to a mental hospital and who now gets short shrift in most books about her son. In conversation with Malcolm's eldest brother, Wilfred Little, and with a Grenadian matriarch who knew Louise Little, Carew suggests that Malcolm's mother was a proud woman who understood black liberation politics and who once hid Marcus Garvey when he was on the run. Carew, who asserts that ``there is a concerted effort to iconize'' Malcolm, urges that the black leader's memory be humanized and his work kept in context. A modest but useful addition.

Pub Date: Jan. 20th, 1995
ISBN: 1-55652-217-7
Page count: 176pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1994