The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Malcolm Little was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1925. His father, Earl, was a Baptist preacher and was targeted by white supremacists. Earl had 6 children, he abused all of them except for Malcolm because he was the lightest skin out of 6 siblings.
Being light skin gave you the upper advantage to not be treated as badly as a dark skin person. Malcolm had a rough childhood, he experienced racial discrimination at an early age when his family moved to Michigan and shortly after their house was burned down by a white supremacist group. Ever since Malcolm was a child he had a dream of becoming a lawyer. In Junior high, Malcolm moved in with his sister who lived in Boston. Malcolm met a black woman named Laura while he was dancing at a club. Though he has an emotional attachment to her, he leaves Laura to pursue a white woman named Sophia and ends up dating her. He utilizes his association with Sophia to get away from the racial exploitation of his childhood by becoming an enforcer of racism himself. He dated her to represent himself better around his associates in Boston. Malcolm’s goal was to take the power back that was extracted from him in Michigan. His childhood consisted of economic instability, racial oppression and inner generation trauma. Domestic violence and systematic violence was reflecting a particular community, his father’s behavior was surrounding the violence that happened to him.
One of the problems Malcolm faced was the media attacking him. In 1957 Malcolm founds Muhammed Speaks, became the Nation of Islam’s own newspaper and a few years later the nation received harsh criticism from the media. Malcolm represented Muhammad on radio stations, TV, and colleges. He received numerous letters from people 95% of the letters were from white people ( CH.15). A few letters were categorized in the Dear Nigger X or the death threat category ( CH.15). Malcolm tried to get away from all the racial discrimination when he was living with his family, once Malcolm converted to the nation of Islam and began to make his presence racial prejudice trailed him. Malcolm and his group wanted to integrate into the community and they were called ‘fascists’ for trying to voice their views on slavery. One of the motives Muhammad had was to spread the notion of acceptance for black people in the community. All Mr. Muhammad is doing is trying to uplift the black man’s mentality and the black man’s social and economic condition in this country ( 245).
Malcolm X fought against violence, resistance and racial oppression. Domestic violence and systematic violence is reflecting a particular community, his father’s behavior was surrounding the violence that happened to him. The author is addressing the problem of human rights, thus, supplied a demand for action and change. To be human is to find something worth to die for, Malcolm X challenged the Civil Rights movement and fought for the human rights of African Americans. He was later assassinated by his people (NOI). He experienced hate, bigotry, violence and racial prejudice during the Civil Rights movement. Since the whites never accepted the African Americans as equal, the Nation of Islam sanctioned the split of Whites and African Americans because there was no reason in fighting for acceptance. Black urban rebellion are affirmation of their being. Malcolm’s view on the violence directed to African Americans, was to defend ourselves by any means necessary . The history of unpunished violence against our people clearly indicates that we must be prepared to defend ourselves or we will continue to be a defenseless people at the mercy of a ruthless, violent and racist mob.
Malcolm X emphasized Christianity’s role in the oppression of blacks. He believes the role of religion is significant to one’s way of life. Malcolm X was born in the era of white supremacy. In 1929, the family moved to Lansing, Michigan and shortly after, their house was burned down by a white supremacist group. At the age of 6, Malcolm’s father was murdered by white men that opposed the work his father – Earl participated in. Malcolm had an extensive history of moving because of racial prejudice he experienced. The author’s childhood experience of violence stemmed from the white race. In his adult life, he did not trust the white people and white culture because of the implications that stemmed from his childhood. Wilfred, Malcolm’s brother, introduced him to a strict but comforting Muslim household after his release from prison. This paved a new, brighter path for Malcolm, eventually leading to him meeting one of his greatest influences of religion, Elijah Muhammad. Elijah teaches Malcolm ways to influence the youth to join the Nation of Islam, branching out from Detroit, to Chicago, and eventually Boston. Throughout this process, he learns exceptional leadership and preaching skills, which helped grow the Nation of Islam. His motivation for converting to Islam, when he was in prison he started to give up on himself. His brother Reginald visited him & told him about a man named Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam. Malcolm and Elijah began to exchange letters and their conversations motivated him to convert to the NOI.
This initiated Malcolm to begin reading books and educating himself upon this religion. He then started teaching the religion to other inmates and created a large group of followers. Malcolm Little changed his name to Malcolm X, the X resembles the unknown last name he would’ve had if his ancestors had not been taken against their will and enslaved. In 1958, the Nation of Islam protested against police brutality outside of the police station, one of the members of the NOI was brutally attacked by police officers. Brother Hinton was attacked with nightsticks. His scalp was split open, and a police car came and he was taken to a nearby precinct ( 238). Within 30 minutes of the attack, 50 members of the Fruit of Islam stood outside of the police station. Malcolm demanded his brother be sent to the hospital as he was only semi-conscious Blood had bathed his head, shoulders and face. As Hinton was taken to the hospital, the members followed in a larger organized demonstration to the hospital, walking 15 blocks as other African Americans followed behind. It was a peaceful protest, but one that demanded a stop to police brutality, ultimately leading to the Nation of Islam suing the police department. A jury awarded him over $70,000, the largest police brutality judgement that New York City has ever paid (1239). Malcolm X had a strong advocacy for racism & he was a strongly influential figure regarding religion. He had many great accomplishments during his time with NOI and brought many African Americans into religion, giving them purpose.
Malcolm’s religious life led him to his travels to Africa and his journey to Mecca. In his journey to Mecca, his intention was to find a religion in whose principles and morals he can flourish in. This intention pushes him to create the Hajj a traditional Islamic pilgrimage5 to Mecca. The brotherhood of the Hajj emphasizes a religion in which everyone is equal under the one true god, in which there are no good or bad races and there are no Divine Men 5. Malcolm’s creation of the Hajj derives from his search to find the truth and equality among individuals. During this time Malcolm renamed himself as Malik E Shabazz and his autobiographical accounts show his excitement at being recognized in the ‘orthodox’ Muslim world4. Malcolm accepting orthodox Islam formed his views on race relations, in particular his embrace of the universal concept of ‘brotherhood’ represented in Islam 4. Malcolm’s religious journey consisted of the transformation from being an atheist to a minister for the NOI to a Sunni Muslim 4. He tried to implement the teachings of Sunni Islam to teach members how to perform Salat (prayer correctly) 4, the Salat is the mandatory Muslim prayer that is executed five times every day. Malcolm had found a very deep connection with Sunni Islam, and it is significant to comprehend that this had a substantial effect on the last portion of his life, ultimately leading him to the conversion of cultural ideology. Malcolm’s whole life was circulated around religion, he traveled to many different countries and states to spread the teachings, values, and the importance of Islam.
Malcolm’s goal was to take the power back that was extracted from him in Michigan. His childhood consisted of economic instability, racial oppression and inner generation trauma. An aspect Malcolm X was known for was the fight against colonialism. Malcolm X’s stance against colonialism was that African Americans should be involved in taking approach. He did not believe in violence, he believed in peaceful protest with a purpose. One way Malcolm X believed that colonialism could be defeated was the Organization of Afro American Unity, this organization fought against any person that got in their way. The purpose of this organization was to bring about the complete independence of people of African descent, also to bring about the freedom of these people by any means necessary3. The Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights are the principles in which we believe and that these documents if put into practice represent the essence of mankind’s hopes and good intentions desirous that all Afro American people and organizations should hence forth unite so that the welfare and well-being of our people will be assured we are resolved. To reinforce the common bound of purpose between our people by submerging all of our differences and establishing nonsectarian constructive programs for human rights3. Malcolm spoke out on how Afro American people and organizations shall be unified as a whole and thus construct nonsectarian constructive programs for human rights. Malcolm X was a courageous leader and human rights activist who fought tremendously hard and strong for the rights of African Americans.
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