92 pages 3 hours read

Malcolm X, Alex Haley

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 1965

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Reading, Discussion & Quiz Questions


1. Why do the Littles leave their home in Omaha?

Answer: to escape the Ku Klux Klan/white supremacist terrorists

2. Why does Malcolm no longer live with his mother after age 12 or 13?

Answer: She is sent to a state mental hospital

3. Whom does Malcolm describe as “the first really proud black woman I had ever seen in my life” (39)?

Answer: Ella

4. What do Malcolm and Shorty have in common, causing Shorty to take an immediate liking to him?

Answer: They are both from Michigan/Lansing.

5. What is Malcolm’s job at the Roseland State Ballroom?

Answer: He shines shoes.

6. What is the name of the hairstyle Malcolm adopts by straightening his hair with burning lye?

Answer: a conk

Discussion Suggestion: Use the above question to introduce discussion on how the conk operates as a symbol in the book. Note how Malcolm attaches metaphorical significance to conking his hair, in the sense that it is an extraordinarily painful act of self-mutilation performed in an effort to assimilate into white culture.

7. Where does Malcolm meet Laura?

Answer: at the drugstore where he works as a soda jerk


1. Who do the authorities say is responsible for Earl’s death?

A) the Ku Klux Klan

B) the Black Legion

C) No one—they rule it accidental