In 2015, the State of Illinois designated May 19 as Malcolm X Day. It doesn’t always show up on the list of official state holidays, interestingly enough, perhaps due to bureaucracy’s slow wheels, perhaps because the observance is a trifle controversial. Other than Illinois, the only government entity to recognize the day is the city of Berkeley, California, where schools have let out since 1979.
Praised coast to coast upon publication, The Death and Life of Malcolm X provides a dramatic portrait of one of the most important black leaders of the twentieth century. Focusing on Malcolm X’s rise to prominence and the final year of his life, the book details his rift with the Nation of Islam and its leader, Elijah Muhammad, leading to death threats and eventually assassination at the hands of a death squad. In a new preface for this edition, Peter Goldman reflects on the forty years since the book’s first publication and considers new information based on FBI surveillance that has since come to light.