Races: Death and Transfiguration

Malcolm X had been a pimp, a cocaine addict and a thief. He was an unashamed demagogue. His gospel was hatred: "Your little babies will get polio!" he cried to the "white devils." His creed was violence: "If ballots won't work, bullets will."

Yet even before his bullet-ripped body went to its grave, Malcolm X was being sanctified. Negro leaders called him "brilliant," said he had recently "moderated" his views, blamed his assassination on "the white power structure" or, in the case of Martin Luther King, on a "society sick enough to express dissent with murder." Malcolm's death, they agreed,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!