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Afro-Eccentricity and Autobiography

  • William David Hart
Chapter
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Abstract

This book traces the spiritual journey of Malcolm X. After tracing that journey as described in his autobiography, I explore the spiritual journeys of Julius Lester and Jan Willis1 whom I construe as Malcolm’s spiritual legatees. I trace what is known about Malcolm, Julius, and Jan by analyzing their autobiographies. In contrast, I also explore what is relatively unknown and establish connections between the three autobiographers that may not be obvious and that some readers may view as counterintuitive. In this regard, my analysis is “constructive.” The “spiritual” in spiritual journey refers to those events (artistic, druginduced, sporting, sexual, violent, political, and religious) that grab, lift, and transport us to another dimension of imagination, if not of space and time, beyond the placid surfaces, gray zones, and temperate climates of our everyday lives.

Keywords

White Supremacy Negro Church Black Identity Autobiographical Narrative Black Folk 
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Notes

  1. 4.
    R. White, “Autobiography against Itself,” Philosophy Today 35, no. 3/4 (1991): 297.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    P. Ricoeur, “Narrative Identity,” trans. Mark S. Muldoon. Philosophy Today (Spring 1991): 73.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    R. Porter and H. R. Wolf, The Voice within: Reading and Writing Autobiography (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1973), 4–5.Google Scholar
  4. 21.
    T. Parsons, ed., Max Weber: The Theory of Social and Economic Organizations (New York: Free Press, 1964), 154.Google Scholar
  5. 22.
    W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folks (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999), 123–9.Google Scholar
  6. 23.
    C. West, Prophesy Deliverance! (Philadelphia: Westminster Press), 5–6.Google Scholar
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    W. E. B. DuBois, The Negro Church: Report of a Social Study Made under the Direction of Atlanta University; together with the proceedings of the Eighth Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems (Atlanta: Atlanta University Press, 1903).Google Scholar
  8. 26.
    Two rich studies—A. Raboteau, Slave Religion: The Invisible Institution in the Antebellum South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978) and T. Smith, Conjuring Culture: Biblical Formations of Black America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994)—exceed the limita-tions of the Standard Narrative.Google Scholar
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    See B. Lincoln, “Theses on Method,” Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 8 (1996): 225–7.Google Scholar
  10. 28.
    N. J. Delong-Bas, Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Globanl Jihad (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 260.Google Scholar
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    See Black Protest Thought in the Twentieth Century, ed. A. Meier, E. Rudwick, and F. L. Broderick (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1971), 469–84.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© William David Hart 2008

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  • William David Hart

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