Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly

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9780060562014: Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly

"I believe in recognizing every human being
as a human being, neither white, black, brown, nor red."

This was just one of the messages that Malcolm X brought to people of color. He lived by the idea that black people should demand equality by taking their lives and futures into their own hands. With guidance from the religious leader Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm became one of the most powerful leaders of the civil rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s, and his beliefs live on today.

Award-winning author Walter Dean Myers, together with illustrator Leonard Jenkins, delivers a straightforward and compelling portrayal of one of America's most influential figures.

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"I am for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it is for or against."

These words were spoken by the controversial civil rights activist Malcolm X in 1965, the same year he was assassinated in Harlem, New York. Born Malcolm Little, Malcolm X spent much of his life speaking out for the equality of black people and the need for individuals to take personal responsibility for their own success in America.

Originally from in Nebraska and raised in Michigan, Maalcolm moved to Boston when he was 14 years old. Boston and New York represented a whole new world to him, a world where black people seemed sharp, cool, and slick. The newly zoot-suited, snappy hat-wearing Malcolm also fell into a Boston gang, and when he was 21 years old, was imprisoned for robbery. Once in prison, he became an avid reader and letter writer. His brother Reginald told him about the Nation of Islam, a political and religious organization dedicated to the betterment of black people, and he became a correspondent of the group's leader, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Upon his release in 1952 he became Malcolm X, as many black Muslims dropped their family names for "X," which represented a lost African name.

As Malcolm X, he preached equality, and much to the dismay of many, separatism of blacks and whites. He felt strongly that a revolution was in order, that black people shouldn't rule out violence as an option to effect change. "You don't have a peaceful revolution," he said. "You don't have a turn the cheek revolution. There's no such thing as a nonviolent revolution!" In 1964, he broke with the Nation of Islam and went to Mecca. And it wasn't until 1965 that he came to a gentler, less divisive approach to justice: "I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being--neither white, black, brown, or red."

Walter Dean Myers is an award-winning writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for young people, and has penned a masterful, even-handed biography of Malcolm X for young readers. Leonard Jenkins, illustrator of Sunflower Island by Carol Greene, brings his bold, beautiful, collage-style paintings to the life of a man whose fire burned brightly and went out too quickly. A chronology in the back of the book marks the important dates in the life of Malcolm X; quotations trace his spiritual and philosophical development. (Ages 8 and older) --Karin Snelson

About the Author:

Walter Dean Myers was the New York Times bestselling author of Monster, the winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award; a former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature; and an inaugural NYC Literary Honoree. Myers received every single major award in the field of children's literature. He was the author of two Newbery Honor Books and six Coretta Scott King Awardees. He was the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, a three-time National Book Award Finalist, as well as the first-ever recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.



Leonard Jenkins received his B.F.A. from the American Academy of Art in Chicago. He is the illustrator of Sunflower Island by Carol Greene, which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. Mr. Jenkins lives in New York City.

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