Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention By Manning Marable (Viking Press, 594 pp., $30) I. When Malcolm X died in a hail of assassin’s gunfire at the Audubon Ballroom in February 1965, the mainstream media in the United States was quick to suggest that he reaped the harvest of bloodshed he had brazenly sown.
Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus GarveyBy Colin Grant (Oxford University Press, 530 pp., $27.95) I. In the pantheon of the past century's African American leaders, Marcus Garvey holds an exceedingly ambiguous place.
There were two Americans who attempted to forge one nation from the two societies created by the Founders' failure to resolve the problem of slavery. One was Abraham Lincoln, whom we honored only implicitly on Presidents' Day (the billing being shared with George Washington). The other was Martin Luther King Jr., for whom there is a national holiday. The reason we honor King and not Lincoln lies in the strategies and tactics that each man employed in attempting to make this a single nation.