Malcolm X was a famous African-American human rights activist and spokesperson for Black Nationalism in the United States. As a polarizing figure within the media of mid-20th century America, he attracted massive plaudits from his followers and huge criticisms from his opponents. Departing from the passive practices of his contemporaries, Malcolm advocated a much more aggressive approach in the fight for the civil rights of ...
Malcolm X was a famous African-American human rights activist and spokesperson for Black Nationalism in the United States. As a polarizing figure within the media of mid-20th century America, he attracted massive plaudits from his followers and huge criticisms from his opponents. Departing from the passive practices of his contemporaries, Malcolm advocated a much more aggressive approach in the fight for the civil rights of African-Americans. His speeches electrified his audiences and terrified his enemies. As if in narrative, it was during one of his speeches, doing what he did best, that Malcolm was assassinated by three gunmen set on silencing him.
With his family moving several times due to racist incidents as a boy, Malcolm's negative views towards white people and institutionalized racism developed early. Never settling for long and watching his family fall apart, he fell into a young life of crime and was sent to a juvenile detention center at the age of 13. It was that same year that his mother was placed in a mental institution. Leaving school at 15, he became involved with gambling, drug dealing, and racketeering, before eventually being sent to prison for breaking and entering at the age of 20. It was there, through a friend, that he discovered the power of words for the first time. Encouraged by his brothers from the outside, he found religion, became a Muslim and joined the Nation of Islam. Upon his release he became a minister for the Nation of Islam and quickly rose through their ranks.
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EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK
Malcolm is reported as having been one of the best pupils in his high school. Despite this, he would drop out at the eighth grade after a teacher told him his dream of being a lawyer was "no realistic goal for a nigger." This led to a period of drifting for Malcolm. He went from job to job until moving to Harlem, New York in 1943. There, he became involved in low-level drug dealing, pimping, racketeering and burglary. By 1945, he was targeting and stealing from wealthy white families. He was eventually caught, getting charged with larceny, carrying a firearm, breaking and entering and was sentenced to ten years in Charlestown State prison.
Malcolm earned the nickname the "Devil" in prison for his opposition to religion. It wasn't until his brothers Philbert and Reginald started writing to him, telling him about the black supremacist group Nation of Islam that he began to reconsider his position. Encouraged by another inmate, John Elton Bembry, Malcolm began to educate himself. He read anything and everything the prison library had to offer. After a visit from Reginald telling him more about the teachings of the Nation of Islam, Malcolm slowly became more receptive to their ideology. He gave up eating pork and smoking. He agreed with their views on black self-reliance and supported their idea that black people should have their own country, free from white rule. He also considered the fact he had never had a genuine, good relationship with any white person.
Malcolm X: A Biography
+ Background and Upbringing
+ Big City Red
+ The Rise of an Orator
+ ...and much more