Mike Rose And Malcolm X: The Importance Of Books

1041 words - 5 pages

While many people in America learn through the standard schooling system there are some that come into an education on their own, in their own way. Here I am going to compare the similarities and differences between the ways that Mike Rose, an award winning writer and professor in the School of Education at UCLA and Malcolm X, an African American activist who was a renowned speaker and ideologist, were motivated to start taking their education seriously, and how they went about getting that education.
Mike Rose was placed in the vocational track at his high school due to a mix up of his test results with another student named Rose. (Rose 152). He unwittingly found himself heading towards ...view middle of the document...

He drew many black Americans into the civil rights movement with his fiery and eloquent speeches. However, Malcom X was not always the rhetorician that history records him as. He at one time found that he “not only wasn’t articulate, I wasn’t even functional” (X 189). Envious of a learned and articulate fellow inmate by the name of Bimbi and desirous of being able to convey his thoughts articulately to the head of his church, his Prophet Elijah Muhammad, he started to begin his path on his “kind of a homemade education” (189). Both of these men found themselves with less knowledge than they wanted and indeed needed. After earlier in their lives not really caring much about their education they both resolved to remedy their deficiencies.
Both men truly first began their education with books. Mike Rose would go to Mr. McFarland’s house and “consuming (his) English teacher’s library”. Mr. McFarland library contained a large amount of books. Jackson Pollock, Yeats, and Man Ray were just a few of the books that could be found within the small apartment (Rose 161). These along with the art films Rose would attend at the Cinema would have further contributed to his love of reading and writing. It is not many who would say that they had been inspired by poor literature. Unless perhaps it was one’s own poor literature. The excitement he felt in those early days seemed to have carried through to the rest of his life. Moreover it ignited a passion for learning that likely sparked more young people’s interest in literature. Malcom X however found himself lacking the ability to understand enough of the words he was reading to gain anything substantial from his efforts. At an educational crossroads he decided on the dictionary as the best beginning on his pathway in enlightenment. He began reading and copying everything “down to the punctuation marks”. As days went by he began to understand more and more of the words he was writing. He guessed that he wrote a million words (X 190)....

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