Malcolm X Essay

1144 words - 5 pages

On May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska, Malcolm Little was born to Reverend Earl and Louise Little. Rev. Little, who believed in self-determination and worked for the unity of black people. Malcolm was raised in a background of ethnic awareness and dignity, but violence was sparked by white racists trying to stop black people such as Rev. Little from preaching the black cause.The history of Malcolm's dedication to black people, like that of his father, may have been motivated by a long history of oppression of his family. As a young child, Malcolm, his parents, brothers, and sisters were shot at, burned out of their home, harassed, and threatened. This culminated in the murder of his father by white racists when Malcolm was six.Malcolm became a drop-out from school at the age of fifteen. Learning the ways of the streets, Malcolm became acquainted with hoodlums, thieves, dope peddlers, and pimps. Convicted of burglary at twenty, he remained in prison until the age of twenty-seven. During his prison stay he attempted to educate himself. In addition, during his period in prison he learned about and joined the Nation of Islam, studying the teachings of Elijah Muhammed fully. He was released, a changed man, in 1952.The Nation of IslamUpon his release, Malcolm went to Detroit, joined the daily activities of the sect, and was given instruction by Elijah Muhammad himself. Malcolm's personal commitment helped build the organization nation-wide, while making him an international figure. He was interviewed on major television programs and by magazines, and spoke across the country at various universities and other forums. His power was in his words, which so vividly described the plight of blacks and vehemently incriminated whites. When a white person referred to the fact that some Southern university had enrolled black freshmen without bayonets, Malcolm reacted with scorn:When I "slipped," the program host would leap on the bait: "Ahhh! Indeed, Mr. Malcolm X -- you can't deny that's an advance for your race!"I'd jerk the pole then. "I can't turn around without hearing about some 'civil rights advance'! White people seem to think the black man ought to be shouting 'hallelujah'! Four hundred years the white man has had his foot-long knife in the black man's back -- and now the whit man starts to wiggle the knife out, maybe six inches! The black man's supposed to be grateful? Why, if the white man jerked the knife out, it's still going to leave a scar!Although Malcolm words often stung with the injustices against blacks in America, the equally racist views of the Nation of Islam kept him from accepting any whites as sincere or capable of helping the situation. For twelve years he preached that the white man was the devil and the "Honorable Elijah Muhammad" was God's messenger. Unfortunately, most images of Malcolm today focus on this period of his life, although the transformation he was about to undergo would give him a completely different, and more important,...

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