'Malcolm X' rekindles interest in the man, popularity of his book

November 16, 1992|By Sandy Crockett | Sandy Crockett,Staff Writer

Cecelia Barnhardt recently finished her second reading of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," and it won't be her last.

"I will read it over and over again. It is just so uplifting and motivating," she says of the book, which was published in 1965 and co-written with the late Alex Haley. And, after reading the book, the 20-year-old cosmetology student is looking forward to the opening of Spike Lee's $35 million movie. "When the movie comes out," she says, "I will be the first one there."

Victoria Henderson, 17, had not been required by her Prince George's County school to read the autobiography, but she read it anyway.

"With all of the publicity about him, I wanted to know who he was and why he was so special," says the senior at High Point High in Beltsville. "The book was well-written, and it helped me understand what Malcolm is all about."

Word-of-mouth led 21-year-old Dwayne Banks to the autobiography.

"It opened my eyes to life in general," says the Northeast Baltimore resident, who works for the Stouffer Harborplace Hotel. "When the movie opens, I will probably sit there and sit there until they make me leave."

Indeed, "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" -- already a steady seller with more than 3 million copies sold nationwide -- has become even more popular since publicity about the movie began about a year ago, says Djenaba Bahar, manager of Pyramid Books in Mondawmin Mall.

"There is a lot of Malcolm-mania going on now," Ms. Bahar saysEveryone from senior citizens who were around when Malcolm X was alive to youngsters learning about him in history classes are asking for the book, she says.

The bookstore manager expects to sell more books about Malcolm X -- there are at least 20 others besides the autobiography in stock at the store -- once the movie opens.

"The fascination with him should be concentrated around how hdeveloped, how he educated himself. All the young boys out there -- along with wearing an X on their hats -- should also have a book or a couple of books tucked under their arms," Ms. Bahar says.

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