The Enduring Legacy Of Malcolm X

1955 words - 8 pages

If there was any one man who demonstrated the anger, the struggle, and the beliefs of African Americans in the 1960s, that man was Malcolm X. The African American cultural movement of the 1920s lost momentum in the 1930s because of worldwide economic depression. The Great Depression helped to divert attention from cultural to economic matters. Even before the stock market crash of 1929, unemployment and poverty among blacks was exceptionally high. It was under these difficult conditions that Malcolm X experienced his youth in the South. Malcolm X was a very controversial character in his time. He grew up in a very large family. His father hunted rabbits to sell to the white people for money, and his mother stayed home to take care of all the children. Several times when he was young, his family was forced to relocate due to the racist groups that would burn or run them out of their home like the Ku Klux Klan. One of these groups called the Black Legion killed his father by tying him to the railroad tracks. Malcolm’s father had life insurance but was not given to his family because they said that Earl Little had committed suicide. This was quite impossible because his head was bashed in and he tied himself to the railroad. Without his father’s income, Malcolm's family was forced to get government help and food. Applying for this type of assistance brought many white Social Workers into their home. They asked questions and interrogated the entire family. Malcolm’s mother always refused to talk or let them in.

This did not stop them and they came in anyway. Malcolm, without family discipline and restrictions, often could be found wandering the streets of Roxbury. Without parental or adult guidance of any kind and due to the poor conditions in his home, Malcolm began to steal food. Finally, he was caught. The police did not make a big deal about it, because it was his first offense. The Social Workers however, began investigating his family even more intensely. They used this incident against the family. They reported that Malcolm’s mother could not take proper care of her children and recommended that they be split up and placed in different foster homes.

Malcolm did not realize he was getting government help. He also did not realize that the nice Social Workers who would sometimes slip him treats were really out to put him in a foster home. As a boy Malcolm did not have the capability of seeing through the thin mask of help provided by the White Man’s Society. He did not understand what was really behind the white man’s intentions, until later on in his life. When he was put in a foster home, it had the image of being a well put together facility. The foster home did send him to school and teach him. But it taught him to be ashamed of being a Negro. It also taught him that he should never try to aspire to be anything more than a trade’s man. An example of this was when one day, Malcolm and one of his teachers were having a conference. When...

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