Welcome to "Life after Death: Malcolm X and American Culture." Guiding your learning experience is Professor Manning Marable. Your first step should be to listen to his video introduction, the link for which is located on this page. After you have done this, you can select the Begin Course link to start your exploration.
The harsh material circumstances of African American survival and struggle in the United States contributed to a merger of the secular and the spiritual, producing an approach to leadership best characterized as the "black messianic" style. Messianic leadership expressed itself as the ability to communicate effectively ideas, emotions, and plans of action that in some measure represented the interests of most African Americans, while also constructing bonds of collective intimacy through appeals to the spirituality and religiosity among many African American people. Malcolm X was one such leader. A pivotal figure in the history of the United States, Malcolm X has been the subject of intense scrutiny, scholarly research, and commercialization and popularization of his image. The latter is clearly manifest in the many voice samplings of Malcolm X found in rap/hip hop recordings of the 80s and 90s as well as in Spike Lee's popular feature film "X." And, the character of black leadership held Malcolm X at the forefront of the freedom struggle even after his death. This online seminar focuses primarily on what has happened to Malcolm's image and legacy after his death by assassination in 1965.
The main navigation for "Malcolm X: Life after Death" can be found in the upper right hand portion of the screen. Just roll over on the Introduction, Conclusion, or one of the modules and you will gain access to that part of the course. A pull-down menu will appear so that you can enter sections of a module.
"Malcolm X: Life after Death" is divided into three modules: "Too Black, Too Strong: Biographical Background to Malcolm X as a Black Cultural Icon," "(En)Gendering Blackness: Black Women, Black Masculinity, and the Image of Malcolm X," and "House Negroes vs. Field Negroes: Malcolm X, the Intellectuals and the Black Middle Class." Within these modules are a number of topics you may explore, all of which contain various interactive elements to further your understanding by engaging you as an active participant in the course.
There is however another way to explore this site. If you wish to work your way through the site by focusing on a series of questions rather than in linear fashion as suggested by the main navigation located in the upper right-hand section of each page, just access the "Query Map." The Map has a number of icons that when touched by your cursor projects a question in an adjacent box. By clicking on the icon you gain immediate access to the section of "Malcolm X: Life after Death" which addresses that particular question. This navigational scheme allows you greater freedom to pursue your interests in Malcolm X's legacy.
"Malcolm X: Life after Death" supports a number of special features. Scattered throughout the site are many video interviews with Manning Marable and other prominent historians and cultural critics. Additionally, there are three "Perspectives" selections that allow you to hear two different responses on a single topic. Thought-provoking readings supplement the main narrative of the site. And, photographs give further insight into "Malcolm X: Life after Death."
This site also contains features to embellish your understanding of Malcolm X by engaging you as an active participant in the course. The Media Index (Supplementary Readings, Bibliography, Music Links, Related Web Sites, Video Interviews and "Perspectives") allows you direct access and reference to important materials found within this site as well as those housed in your local libraries and sold in music stores. A dynamic Timeline (1965-2001) provides some of the important dates in the cultural evolution of the legacy of Malcolm X. The Query Map, as stated earlier, presents a unique means of moving through this site.
Finally, three Activities have been created to enhance your experience. "Combing the FBI Files on Malcolm X" affords you the opportunity to examine some FBI files relating to Malcolm X. These recently declassified documents will allow you to explore a few relevant questions about the FBI's continuing interest in Malcolm X after 1965 as well as some of the activities engaged in by his advocates and followers after his assassination. "Interviewing Malcolm X" places you in the role of a reporter when you formulate questions based on quotations that have been used as samplyings in hip hop recordings. And, "Myth and Reality" requires that you determine what misconceptions have arisen around the life and thought of Malcolm X in the years after his assassination.
At the conclusion of this online seminar, you should be able to explain the significance of Malcolm X's contribution to African American culture, the civil rights movement, and the intellectual climate of twentieth-century America. Furthermore, you should be able to identify some critical points in evolution of Malcolm X's image after his assassination in 1965 and how his legacy has transformed the artistic, sociopolitical, and economic climate-especially of the African American community.
To access this web site your computer must be connected to the Internet with a minimum of a good 56K modem connection. A faster connection is suggested. The browser should be 4.0 or above and should be set up to us the RealPlayer 7 or above. Full information is available from Help page of this course.
Please begin your online seminar by viewing the video introduction to Malcolm X: Life after Death from Professor Manning Marable.