Malcolm X Essay Research Paper Malcolm XMalcolm

Malcolm X Essay, Research Paper

Malcolm X

Malcolm’s family was a victim of racism before he was even born. His father, Reverend

Earl Little, had experienced the death of three of his brothers by white men and one by

lynching. This caused Rev. Little to become a preacher of Marcus Garvey’s pro-black and

Back-to-Africa beliefs. Because of these beliefs, Malcolm’s family was often a target of racist

acts. Due to an incident by the Ku Klux Klan while Malcolm’s mother was still pregnant with

him they moved from Omaha to Milwaukee. There their were still many hate crimes.

They a couple more times and then to Lansing, Michigan. Malcolm experienced friction

between his parents and child abuse of his older siblings by his mother, Louise. One night in

September 1931 (Malcolm was six years old), after a fight caused Rev. Little to take a walk,

Malcolm and his family were awakened by the terrible news of their father’s death by beating.

A large insurance policy which Rev. Little had signed, refused to pay. With only menial jobs to

support the nine person family, Louise began receiving welfare checks. With this came the

deterioration of her pride and eventually psychological downfall. Soon after, the family fell

into poverty and could not feed itself. Louise was committed to a mental institution in

Kalamazoo, Michigan and the younger children were placed in foster homes. Malcolm Had

already been removed from his mother’s custody and was in foster care for juvenile

delinquency. The welfare agency managed to put Malcolm in the home of a nearby family.

Things were fine for a while but he was expelled from school for disruptive behavior. He then

moved to a detention home where he showed how he was able to be reformed. Shortly after,

he was accepted into the local school, nearly all white. In this school he interacted well with

the white students and got high marks. Then in eighth grade a teacher asked him if he had

any thoughts on a future career. The teachers response to Malcolm’s answer of “lawyer”

changed Malcolm forever. The teacher said Malcolm should try to get a career suited for his

kind, such as carpentry. Malcolm could not deal with the fact that although his scores were

high, society shill said he had little chance for success in a legal field. Malcolm was the unable

to associate with whites as he had before. Shorty after he moved to live with a relative in

Mason, Michigan. There Malcolm grew up fast. Malcolm first roamed the streets of Boston to

become accustomed to the surroundings. Malcolm experienced many things for the first


‘I had never had tasted a sip of liquor, never even smoked a cigarette,

and here I saw little black children, ten and twelve years old, shooting craps,

playing cards, fighting….children threw swear words I’d never heard before….”

Malcolm met Shorty, a man who had a significant influence on Malcolm’s life. Shorty helped

Malcolm find a job as a shoeshine boy for a large ballroom. Malcolm was trained for a few

nights by the exiting guy. This training included not only shoeshining but also the dealing of

drugs and the hiring of prostitutes for customers. Soon Shorty had showed Malcolm how to

wear s zoot suit and put his hair into a conk (a hairstyle African Americans wore to straighten

their hair). Malcolm soon learned how to dance and ended up quitting his shoeshine job. In

the process of dancing, he met Laura, an educated girl who was also an excellent dance

partner. Malcolm began going out with Laura and was involved in a serious relationship until

he met Sophia. Sophia was an older white girl whom Malcolm immediately went after at a

party. It wasn’t long until Sophia was was with Malcolm. Soon after in 1942 in an attempt by

his aunt to get him away from Boston and Sophia Malcolm became a dishwasher foe the

railroad company. Malcolm soon became a local street hustler but was forced to retreat back

to Boston after finding out another hustler, the Mafia, and police were all after him. Once

back in Boston, Malcolm took up another illegal trade, house robberies. Along with two other

black men, a white women and Sophia, Malcolm committed a series of these robberies in a

residential area of Boston. Sooner or later in 1946 they were caught by a very appalled police

force. In yet another act of racism, the judge gave Malcolm 7 years imprisonment in

Charleston, Massachusetts due to his association with the white women. The normal sentence

for a first offender of such crimes would be 2 to 3 years. In those seven years Malcolm became

a follower of Elijah Muhammad, the leader of a small urban prophet-cult, the Nation of Islam.

This group , at the time, stressed moral conduct with other black persons but instructed that

white people were devils. Malcolm’s brother Reginald and sister, Ella, visiting him in prison,

urged him to join Muhammad’s cult, and while in prison he did. He discarded his “slave name”

Little, and was assigned the new name “X” to symbolize his true African family name. He then

became one of the most influential leaders of blacks and whites alike during the civil rights


After his parole in 1952, Malcolm joined the Nation of Islam under the guidance of

Elijah Muhammad and eventually was made a minister and top administrator of the Muslim

Movement. Malcolm founded mosques in Boston, Philadelphia, and Harlem (already in Detroit,

Chicago and New York) and was credited with the national expansion of the movement, which

included a membership of approximately 30,000 by 1963. In 1958 he married Betty Shabazz,

and they had six daughters (Ahilah Shabazz, Qubilah Shabazz, Ilyasah Shabazz, Gamilah

Lamumbah Shabazz, Malikah Shabazz Saban, and Malaak Shabazz Saban). Malcolm X came

to broad public notice as result of a July 13-17, 1959, television special with Mike Wallace

called The Hate That Hate Produced, which told the story of Malcolm X’s emergence as one of

the most important leaders of the Nation of Islam. Further Malcolm’s vision was expressed in

speeches, a newspaper column, and radio and television interviews. In addition, he helped

found the Black Muslim newspaper Muhammad Speaks. In 1963 the black Muslims silenced

Malcolm for his remark that the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy was

like “the chickens coming home to roost.” In 1964 Malcolm started building his own

organization called Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). He went to the Islamic holy

city of Mecca in Saudia Arabia to learn more about true Islam. He was greatly impressed by

how the people of different color got along. His views changed about racist society. After the

trip to Mecca he adopted the Arabic name, el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz. He traveled to bring all

blacks together world-wide to fight racism. Malcolm’s Queens, New York home was

firebombed February 14, 1965 but the family survived. Two weeks later, on February 21, as

Malcolm addressed a filled house at the Audubon Ballroom, multiple assassins shot him.

Malcolm had a feeling that this would be his last speech so he had his wife and children come

to hear him. Many people, both black and white, were deeply saddened by his death. These

people admired him because he stood up against racism and he struggled to put into the black

people. These people also shared his hopes that all races might someday be joined by

brotherhood. The reason for the assassination has never been definitely established. Three

men were convicted in March 1966 of first degree murder. Talmadge Hayer, Norman Butler

and Thomas Johnson. They were allegedly connected with the black Muslims. Many blacks

and whites still look up to el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz (more commonly known as Malcolm X)

On January, 1999 was the first day of issue from the us postal Service which added a Malcolm

X stamp to Black Heritage Commemorative series, saluting outstanding contributions African

Americans have made to our nation.

Some Quotes by Malcolm X

On Self Acceptance

“We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptance to


On Childhood

“We were so hungry we were dizzy and we had nowhere to turn. Finally the authorities came in

and we children were scattered about in different places as public wards. I happened to

become the ward of a white couple who ran a correctional school for white boys. This family

liked me in the way they liked their house pets” 1963

On Faith

“A new world order is in the making and it is up to us to prepare ourselves that we may take

our rightful place in it”

On Overcoming

“At the bottom of the social heap is the black man in the big-city ghetto. He lives night and

day with the rats and the cockroaches and drowns himself with alcohol and anesthetizes

himself with dope, to try to forget where and what he is. That Negro had given up all hope.

He’s the hardest one for us to reach, because he’s the deepest in the mud. But when you get

him, you’ve got the best kind of Muslim. I look upon myself as a prime example of this

category-as graphic an example as you could find of the salvation of the black man.” 1963

On Hatred

“What I want to know is how the white man, with the blood of black people dripping off his

fingers, can have the audacity to be asking black people {why} they hate him?”

On Betty

“She’s the only person I’d trust with my life”

On Martin Luther King Jr.

“He got the peace prize and we got the problem” 1964

On Christianity

“I find it difficult {to believe} that….Christians accuse {Black Muslims} of teaching racial

supremacy or..hatred, because their own history and ….teachings are filled with it” 1960

On Integration

“…when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong, what do you do?

You integrate it with cream…But if you pour too much cream in it you won’t even know you

ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It

used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep.” 1963

On Extremism

“Yes I’m am extremist. The black race…is in extremely bad condition.”

On Mecca

“The holiest and most sacred city on earth. The fountain of truth, love, peace, and

brotherhood.” 1964

On Earthly Rewards

“Whenever I walk the street and see people ready to get with it, that’s my reward.” 1964

“I am not a racist in any form whatever. I don’t believe in any form of racism. I don’t believe

in any form of discrimination of segregation. I believe in Islam.” 1964


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