Malcolm X: The Autobiography Of Malcom X

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Known as a minister for the Nation of Islam, Malcolm Little, best recognized as Malcolm X, is one of the most prominent African-American figures in history. In a collaborative effort between Malcolm X and Alex Haley, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” outlines the life of this influential African-American figure. Since childhood, Malcolm experienced many challenges and difficulties which led to his ever-changing identity and beliefs. From being a son of a Baptist minister, he grew up to be a hustler, a criminal, a minister, and a leader. Indeed, it can be said that Malcolm went through many transformations during his lifetime, and these transformations contributed in the development of his philosophy as well as in his growth as an individual.…show more content…
Surrounding the house, brandishing their shotguns and rifles, they shouted for my father to come out. . . . Still shouting threats, the Klansmen finally spurred their horses and galloped around the house, shattering every window pane with their gun butt. . . . (1) From the beginning, it appears that Malcolm’s life has been predetermined by the white society’s attitude towards the black. He had his first encounter of racism while he was in his mother’s womb, and since then, the racial injustice he experienced only became worse. His father was murdered likely by white supremacists, and his mother was institutionalized by white welfare workers. When he tried to integrate himself into his predominantly white school, he faced even more racism from his classmates and teachers. In one incident, a teacher told him to be a carpenter, a much realistic goal for someone like him, rather than a lawyer, which was what Malcolm wanted to be. It was then that he “began to change-inside” and “drew away from white people” (38). Malcolm now understood just how deep racism was in society. As a result, he started to distance himself away and change. This change can be considered as his first transformation, for these early experiences of racism later caused his anti-white…show more content…
Shortly after his arrival in, he met Shorty, who decided to take Malcolm under his wing. He found work as a shoeshine boy at Roseland State Ballroom, and learned that much of the job’s income comes from the underground business of selling alcohol and marijuana and acting as a bridge between white customers and black prostitutes (51). With his zoot-suit and conked hair, he was no longer a country bumpkin. Malcolm immediately adapted into the urban lifestyle, integrating himself into a community that accepted him. From Boston, he traveled to Harlem in New York, where he learned hustling techniques. Malcolm admits, “I was a true hustler- uneducated, unskilled anything honorable, and I considered myself nervy and cunning enough to live by my wits, exploiting any prey that presented itself” (111). Like many, Malcolm reached a low point in life. Garnering the nickname “Detroit Red,” he makes his transformation as a hustler. The street life attracted him for it not only gave him a sense of thrill but also a social status that he could be proud of. Furthermore, hustling provided him the income he needed and fast. The hustling business was his means for

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