The Malcolm X Character in Poems
Brookes, Gwendolyn. “Malcolm X.”
This poem is about Malcolm X, as obvious from the title, written soon after his assassination. It seems to be relatively ambiguous in its descriptions of him – “original,” “ragged-round,” “rich-robust.” It acknowledges the influence Malcolm X had on the Black movements, and yet emphasizes that he was simply “a man.”
Hayden, Robert. “El-hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X).”
This poem is about the transformation of Malcolm X into the figure that he is known as today. It depicts his journey, introducing his struggle-filled “injured childhood” to the reader. Hayden refers to Malcolm X as “a punished self,” and uses imagery to convey emotion.
Knight, Etheridge. “It Was a Funky Deal.”
This poem is about the assassination of Malcolm X and the reasons behind it. Knight compares it to the betrayal of Jesus by Judas and suggests that Malcolm “rocked too many boats.” He repeats the title throughout the poem – “it was a funky deal,” scolding the actions of those who assassinated the minister and expressing grief at his passing.
Neal, Larry. “Malcolm X – An Autobiography.”
This poem is about Malcolm X and his life, written in first person in the style of a poetic autobiography. Neal creates a dramatic narration of the life of the minister, using metaphors and imagery to convey the grim atmosphere of the revolutionary time. He talks about the realities of New York and the life on the streets of Harlem.
Spriggs, Edward S. “For Brother Malcolm.”
This poem is about the lack of a physical memorial for Malcolm X. Spriggs relates that the only place where the latter is commemorated is in people’s hearts. He implies that the memorial site is synonymous with the legacy Malcolm has left in the world and with the changes he influenced and inspired.