MALCOLM X: Our History was Destroyed by Slavery
On March 17, 1963, Malcolm X appeared on a television show in Chicago called City Desk (see also here). During the interview, interviewer Len O'Connor (an older white man) kept badgering him about his "real" last name. Finally, Malcolm X said:
My father didn't know his last name. My father got his last name from his grandfather and his grandfather got it from his grandfather who got it from the slavemaster. The real names of our people were destroyed during slavery. The last name of my forefathers was taken from them when they were brought to America and made slaves, and then the name of the slavemaster was given, which we refuse, we reject that name today and refuse it. I never acknowledge it whatsoever.Malcolm X is viewed by some critics as an extremist; however, as Malcolm X evolved, he started to pull away from many of the extremist ideas taught by Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X's break with Muhammad may have been hastened by his discovery that his idol and leader, a man who advocated celibacy before marriage and faithfulness during marriage, was having affairs with several Nation of Islam women, some of whom had children by him.
Also, after his journey to Mecca, Malcolm X began to view Islam as a more peaceful and all-inclusive religion that included all races, even blonde and blue-eyed whites. In fact, his more moderate views may have precipitated his 1965 assassination.
As the class delves into Invisible Man, you will see a continuing loss of identity as the young protagonist grasps for his own sense of identity, which remains elusive and illusive throughout the novel.