[Daily article] February 21: The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965) was the result of a collaboration
between the African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist
Malcolm X and the journalist Alex Haley. Haley based it on a series of
interviews between 1963 and Malcolm X’s assassination on February 21,
1965. It is a spiritual conversion narrative outlining Malcolm X’s
philosophy of black pride, black nationalism, and pan-Africanism. While
Malcolm X and scholars contemporary to the book’s publication regarded
Haley as the book’s ghostwriter, modern scholars regard him as an
essential collaborator who subsumed his authorial voice to allow readers
to feel as though Malcolm X were speaking directly to them. Haley also
influenced some of Malcolm X’s literary choices and Haley’s proactive
censorship of antisemitic material significantly influenced the
ideological tone of the Autobiography, increasing its popularity
although distorting Malcolm X’s public persona. A New York Times
reviewer described it as a “brilliant, painful, important book” and Time
named it in 1998 as one of ten “required reading” nonfiction books. A
screenplay adaptation provided the source material for Spike Lee’s
1992 film Malcolm X.

Read more:

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

1245:

Thomas, the first known Bishop of Finland, was granted
resignation by Pope Innocent IV after having confessed to torture and
forgery.

1804:

Built by Cornish inventor Richard Trevithick, the first self-
propelled steam locomotive first ran in Wales.

1828:

The inaugural issue of the Cherokee Phoenix, the first
newspaper in a Native American language, was published.

1919:

Bavarian socialist Kurt Eisner (pictured), who had organized
the German Revolution that overthrew the Wittelsbach monarchy and
established Bavaria as a republic, was assassinated.

1952:

Protesters in Dhaka, East Pakistan, walked into military
crossfire demanding the establishment of the Bengali language as an
official language.

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Wiktionary’s word of the day:

jump the shark:
1. (idiomatic, of a television program or other narrative) To undergo a
storyline development which heralds a fundamental and generally
disappointing change in direction.
2. (more generally) To experience a decline in quality, appeal, popularity,
etc.

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Wikiquote quote of the day:

  This world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort
to be less horrible to one another. If we took just 5 minutes to
recognize each other’s beauty, instead of attacking each other for our
differences. That’s not hard. It’s really an easier and better way
to live. And ultimately, it saves lives.  
–Ellen Page

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