The book is just too big for me to take it all in at once. It was a novel dare. I would read Manning Marable’s controversial “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention” in a week and either join the parade of reviewers and social commentators praising his thorough research, or chime in with Bro. Malcolm’s children and grandson, condemning the tome for its dusty innuendo, questioning the author’s motives. I planned to swallow the book whole. But it was too big. Besides, halfway into it I realized I had “been there and done that.” Next!
Half way into the book I was fully appreciating its exhaustive research, its discovery and disclosure of details and FBI documents I had been unaware of as a child growing up in the Nation of Islam, which Bro. Malcolm made famous, and in turn became famous for.
The book was coming up short on what I had hoped to get – a sense of the overall experience of the organization and the people in Bro. Malcom had miistered to. I had hoped it would reveal a better sense of the men, women, and children Bro. Malcolm was motivating to build what, as it turned out, would be a front-runner for the mega churches of today.
The 595-page book requires a substantial commitment of my time, mental energy, and interest. I simply did not have it to give – yet. I bought the book, full-price. Cash, thank you very much, but it would cost more than a couple of weeks of good time to read it. I love reading, but it is a slow grind for me. I have to savor a passage word-by-word, digest a chapter at a time. I’ll pick up the Malcolm-Marable “master piece” again. But right now, I am more interested in hearing from other former NOI members about their experiences in the organization in the 50s, 60s, 70, 80, 90s and now.
So far, based on just a few interviews I’ve done, no one wholly regrets their time in the Nation of Islam. The former members I have talked to, in fact, are grateful for the lessons they learned and for the motivation, self-discipline and empowerment they gained – even if they won’t send a dime to keep the organization going because of the manners of corruptions and personal distress the organization has also caused individuals and families.
However, in case you missed it, here is one former NOI brother outraged by the book – to the tune of a $50 million lawsuit filed last week: http://www.wbgo.org/newsarticle/former-nation-of-islam-minister-is-suing-writer-and-publisher-of-new-malcolm-x-biography.
Also, reading what Bro. Malcolm’s grandson had to say last week on what would have been the icon’s 86th birthday was well worth the time, and I am sooooo looking forward to the book he is writing. Check him out here if you missed this: http://newamericamedia.org/2011/05/malcolm-x-grandson-decries-marable-biography-on-86th-birthday-observation.php.
If you, or someone you know spent any time as a member of the NOI, please hit me on facebook. I would loke to speak with them.
Have a blessed day!