Unmuted: Ilyasah Shabazz on teaching Black history in schools and the legacy of her father Malcolm X

Ilyasah Shabazz opens up about her new book 'The Awakening of Malcom X'.

“I was so committed to make sure that my father's story was told more accurately, especially for our children,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle.

The young adult book starts with Malcolm Little in jail, serving a six and a half year sentence for robbery. Tales of his early childhood traumas are shared during flashback scenes, as he contemplates life’s biggest questions.

Setting the story behind bars was important for Shabazz because of the alarming incarceration rates in America. According to Pew Research in 2017, black people represented 12% of the U.S. adult population but 33% of the sentenced prison population. In comparison, white people account for 64% of adults but 30% of prisoners.

“Since 1970, the prison population has increased 700%, and so that says that we need to do better for our young people,” said Shabazz. “I thought it was important first to show that my father, yes, went to jail at a very young age in his teens — he was released in his twenties. And also wanting to take a close examination at the inmates’ humanity.”

Ultimately, Shabazz hopes that sharing her fathers story — his obstacles, strategies, and leadership— will help to guide the intergenerational and multi-racial movement happening right now.

“I think it's extremely important that our young people are understanding that they have to have the capacity to understand these challenges, not from a black and white perspective, but the capacity from a right and wrong perspective.”