Why CBC Toronto host Dwight Drummond thinks The Autobiography of Malcolm X is essential reading
It's Black History Month. Throughout February, CBC Books is asking CBC hosts to recommend a Black author or book written by a Black writer that is meaningful to them.
"I read a lot! I love a wide range of works, but if I had to pick just one, it would be one from my formative years which was The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It wasn't my favourite book in high school — that would be The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde — but it is one that had the most impact on my life. I read it at a time where you're young and making a choice about which way you're going to go in life.
"Malcolm X's story from his troubled youth to becoming a great orator reminds me to the path that Black youth often take. I would see guys in my neighbourhood, who had the intelligence to do great things, fall victim to the stereotypes and negative situations. I kind of adopted Malcolm X as a father figure, someone that tried to walk a successful path.
"I've been fortunate in that I've always been aware of my history and Black history in Canada. The book at the time was not on the reading list at the Toronto high school I attended. My English teacher — I think it was in Grade 11 — gave us a list of books to read and do reports on. I noticed there weren't any books by Black authors on the list and asked him if we could change that. I can't remember if I suggested it or he did, but we were able to add The Autobiography of Malcolm X to the list. Reading this book helped me have pride in myself and not fall into some of the traps that Black youth can fall into.
"Even years after I graduated, they still kept this book on the list."
Dwight Drummond is the host of CBC NewsToronto, the flagship supper hour program. Drummond has been a reporter and news anchor for over two decades. He was awarded the Ryerson University Alumni Award of Distinction and has been inducted into the Faculty of Radio and Television Arts Wall of Fame.