Autobiography Of Malolm X Essay, Research Paper
The book I chose to read this quarter was The Autobiography of Malcolm X. This is about the life of Malcolm X. It follows him from when he was a little kid to his death. The setting of this book is set in America. It covers over 40 years. Malcolm?s childhood is in Lansing, Michigan. He moves to Boston to live with his aunt. Malcolm is imprisoned at the age of 20. After leaving prison he travels all over the U.S. The main characters in this book include:
Malcolm X – The main character and hero of the book. This book is about his life.
Rev. Earl Little – Malcolm?s father. He is a priest and an active member and organizer of the organization founded by Marcus Garvey.
Louise Little – Malcolm?s Mother. After her husband?s death she loses her mind and is put into an institution.
Ella Little – Malcolm?s aunt who has Malcolm come to Boston to live with her.
Shorty – Malcolm meets him in Boston and who shows Malcolm the town life.
Elijah Muhammad – The founder and spiritual leader of the Nation of Islam.
Reginald Little – Malcolm?s younger brother. He shows him the teachings of the Nation of Islam.
Betty Shabazz- Malcolm?s Wife.
Malcolm Little was born on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother, Louise, was a homemaker who looked after Malcolm and his seven brothers and sisters. Malcolm?s father, Earl Little, was an outspoken Baptist and taught the teachings of Marcus Garvey. Because of numerous threats on Malcolm?s father, the family was forced to move several times. But that wasn?t enough. The Klan finally caught up to the Little?s. Earl Little was killed by the Klan on the railroad tracks. Because of Earl Little?s death, Louise Little had an emotional breakdown and was later committed to a mental institution. Malcolm and his brothers and sisters were split up and put into various foster homes and orphanages.
When Malcolm was in Junior High he was the top student of his class. But his education was forever changed when a teacher told Malcolm his dream of becoming a lawyer was ?No realistic goal for a nigger.? This caused a lot of anger and Malcolm lost interest in school. Malcolm dropped out of school and moved to Boston to live with Ella. While in Boston Malcolm met Shorty. Shorty showed Malcolm the city life and helped Malcolm get his first job as a shoe-shine boy. Malcolm worked at a dance hall. He was introduced to a lot of things that would alter his life. Malcolm eventually quit his job as a shoe shine boy. Malcolm then gets another job in a drug store. He meets a girl named Laura. They both really enjoy dancing. Malcolm dates Laura until he meets Sophia. Sophia and Malcolm see each other for a long time.
Shorty and Malcolm moved to Harlem, New York, where they committed small crimes. By 1942, Malcolm was coordinating various narcotic, prostitution, and gambling rings.
Eventually Malcolm and Shorty moved back to Boston. They both were arrested and convicted of burglary charges in 1946. While serving his seven year sentence in jail, Malcolm used the time to further his education. Malcolm?s brother Reginald visited Malcolm while he was in jail. Reginald had recently converted to the Muslim religious organization, the Nation of Islam. Malcolm was very interested in the things that Reginald had to say. Malcolm began to study the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam. Muhammad taught that the white society actively worked to keep African-Americans from empowering themselves and achieving political, economic, and social success. One of the goals of the Nation of Islam was the fight for a state of their own, separated from the white people. When Malcolm was paroled from prison in 1952, Malcolm had become a devoted follower of the Nation of Islam. He dropped his last name ?Little? because he considered it a slave name and chose the surname ?X? to signify his lost tribal name.
Malcolm was appointed a minister and national spokesman for the Nation of Islam. Malcolm was also in charge of establishing new mosques in cities like Detroit, Michigan, and Harlem, New York. Malcolm used the newspaper, radio, and television to communicate the Nation of Islam?s message to black citizens across the U.S. Malcolm helped increase the membership in the Nation of Islam in 10 years by 29,500 people.
Malcolm became a media magnet. There was a lot of controversy and crowds surrounding Malcolm. Malcolm became so popular that his fame became greater than that of his mentor the great Elijah Muhammad.
During the 1960s racial tensions in the United States ran very high. Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam were infiltrated by the FBI. The FBI secretly placed bugs, wiretaps, and cameras to monitor Malcolm and the other members? activities.
In 1963, Malcolm learned that Elijah Muhammad was having relations with up to six women. Elijah Muhammad preached celibacy before marriage. Malcolm had remained celibate until he married Betty Shabazz in 1958. Malcolm refused Elijah?s request to keep the matter quiet. Malcolm was deeply hurt by Elijah?s deception. Malcolm believed Elijah as a prophet. Malcolm felt very guilty about the many people he had bought into a fraudulent organization.
Malcolm and Elijah?s relationship was a little rocky after this incident, but then Malcolm made a comment that terminated their relationship for good. After John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Malcolm said ?[Kennedy} never foresaw that the chickens would come to roost so soon.? Because of this comment, Elijah Muhammad silenced Malcolm for 90 days. Malcolm believed, however, that he was being silenced for another reason. In March of 1964, Malcolm X terminated his relationship with the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam and started the Muslim Mosque. Malcolm also changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.
Malcolm X went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. On this trip Malcolm met ?blonde-haired, blue-eyed men I could call my brothers.? When Malcolm returned to the United States he had a new prospective on integration. Instead of just preaching to African-Americans, he had a message for all races. Malcolm formed the organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). This was a political group. His earlier perception that all whites were devils changed when he met several white media men and students who were opposed to racism.
Relations between Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam became very hostile after Malcolm renounced Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm was told by informants working inside the Nation of Islam that he was a marked man. Malcolm had repeated attempts on his life. Malcolm had to have bodyguards accompany him wherever he went. On February 14, 1965; Malcolm?s home was firebombed. Malcolm, Betty, and their four daughters escaped without physical injury.
On February 21, 1965, at a speaking engagement at Manhattan?s Audubon Ballroom, three gunmen rushed Malcolm onstage and shot him 15 times at close range. All three of the men were members of the Nation of Islam Malcolm X was pronounced dead at the age of 39. Malcolm X was buried at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. ?I know that societies often have killed people who have helped to change those societies. And if I die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth that will help to destroy the racist cancer that is malignant in the body of America then, all the credit is due to Allah. Only the mistakes have been mine.?
The conflicts in this book surround the protagonist Malcolm X. The entire book is about his life. There is no real individual antagonist in this book. Because this book tells about Malcolm?s struggle with the society he lives in. Because of this the antagonist in the book is not an individual but an entire system in which Malcolm believes is to be unjust and racist.
The major theme in this book is Racism in America. Malcolm X?s whole life was for the fight against racism. In this book Malcolm goes into the history of the black race, traces their origins and Malcolm says that blacks should not seek to integrate into the white society. Malcolm believed that by integrating, blacks would always be dependent on white people for everything but mainly for employment and education. Malcolm believed that blacks should organize politically and economically so they could generate enough resources to fulfil their employment and educational needs.
Another minor theme in this book is the Civil Rights movement in America. Malcolm believed that the movement was not just an issue in America but an international issue. Malcolm disagreed with the Civil Rights leaders of his time because he believed in not integrating into the white society.
The mood in this book is serious. It deals with issues in the US during the 50s and 60s. The book deals with the serious problem that comes with being a black citizen in America. It talked about how America wants every country to treat all of its citizens fairly but yet they treated the black race as inferior in their own country.
?Sitting at the table doesn?t make you a diner. You must be eating some of what?s on that plate. Being here in America doesn?t make you an American. Being born here in America doesn?t make you an American.?
The plot in this book follows Malcolm throughout his life, from when he was a little kid up until his death at the age of 39. The plot in this book was good. It gradually follows Malcolm throughout his life.
This book can be interpreted very differently. The background and ethnicity plays a huge part in how the book can be interpreted.
This was a well written book. There were many life experience that were written about. This book talked about what it was like for an African-American growing up in the United States. This book had made me think differently. It makes me think of how it really was like to live back in the time of Malcolm X. This book is a classic in American history. The information in this book should be learned by everyone. Malcolm X was a very influential person in the history of the United States.