RARE AND DESIRABLE TYPED PAGE FROM AN EARLY DRAFT OF THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X, WITH A THREE-WORD AUTOGRAPH ADDITION IN MALCOLM X’S HAND AND 125 AUTOGRAPH EDITS BY ALEX HALEY, HANDSOMELY FRAMED
MALCOLM X and HALEY, Alex. Typed draft page annotated. No place, circa 1963. Single typed leaf measuring 8 by 13 inches; matted with photographic images and framed, entire piece measures 21 by 27 inches. $12,000.
Exceptionally rare typed page from an early draft of The Autobiography of Malcolm X with a three-word autograph addition by Malcolm X and 125 autograph edits by Alex Haley, handsomely matted and framed with photographic portraits of the authors.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, "a story of self-creation and redemption, reveals the complicated, compelling, still-evolving private man. Jailed for burglary, in the closed world of prison Malcolm Little found freedom in the power of the word. He read prodigiously; became a passionate convert to Elijah Muhammad's Black Muslim movement; and walked out as Malcolm X… Each of these changes was a stage in a long intellectual journey, uncompleted at his death. 'If I'm alive when this book comes out, it will be a miracle,' he wrote. 'It's a time for martyrs now" (Books of the Century, 61). Published after a lengthy collaboration with Alex Haley and shortly after Malcolm X's assassination in February the same year, The Autobiography of Malcolm X was immediately praised as "a brilliant, painful, important book… as a document for our time, its insights may be crucial; its relevance cannot be doubted" (New York Times).
This rare typed page is from an early draft—specifically from the Chapter 9, titled "Caught." The page features a three-word autograph correction in blue ink by Malcolm X, as well as 125 autograph edits by Alex Haley. Earlier in the text, 20-year-old Malcolm X has returned to Boston after leaving Harlem in late 1945. He writes: "West Indian Archie gunning for me. The Italian who thought I'd stuck up their craps game after me. The scared kid hustler I'd hit. The cops…." Then, Malcolm "Shorty" Jarvis, a musician and Malcolm X's best friend in Boston, picks him up as he is walking on St. Nicholas Avenue and drives him back to Boston. Chapter 9 commences after that event and concerns George Hulse's gambling house and Malcolm X's attempt to get a hustle going with a poker game.
The corrections in Malcolm X's hand read, "on 'Sugar' Hill" and are intended to specify the exact location of Hulse's gambling house. Ironically, "John Hughes" was substituted for "George Hulse" in the final Autobiography, presumably to avoid litigation. Thus, Malcolm X's single correction on this page made the subject of this passage even clearer to George Hulse himself even as the final version of the Autobiography made efforts to obscure his identity. Haley's edits, on the other hand, are extensive and address mainly stylistic issues. Executed entirely in his own hand, the 125 edits include both words (both rephrasing and style notes) and editorial markings. Overall, this document provides crucial insight into a collaboration between of the most important men of the Civil Rights movement.