As Everyone knows, racial discrimination in the U.S. has always existed. Many races were discriminated against, but one of them suffered more unjust treatment than others; yes I am talking about African-Americans.
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This group of people was seen as “the worst”, were treated badly and taken as slaves, just because of their skin color. They were looked down on, separated from the rest, and even lynched at many unfortunate occasions. One of the most cruel group to go against African-Americans was the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). These groups, of mostly white anglos, terrorized blacks and would not let them live a human life.
Many black figures stood up against this unjust treatment. One of the most memorable is Malcolm Little; later on Malcolm X. This African American leader was not always “a leader”. Him as many other African-Americans suffered from cruel discrimination, by his classmates, teachers, and the rest of the world. The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley, tells Malcolm’s story, even before he was born. He, not just tells the story of his success and accomplishments, but also of how he got there. Malcolm talks about his younger life, the struggles he faced, and the bad choices he made. He also talks about the good people that helped him, and how the Nation of Islam changed his way of thinking and the way of viewing all races.
Through this book, Malcolm wants his readers to learn about his struggles, what he went through, and how he overcame them. He also wants them to learn about his cause of fighting for blacks, and equality. Although not getting a formal education, Malcolm proved to the world his wide knowledge and incredible communication skills. He did regret not being able to get a proper education, he thought it would have helped him and his cause even more.
Malcolm’s journey starts even before he was born. One night, in the city of Omaha, Nebraska, one group of the KKK arrived at his home. And, as Malcolm described it: “The Klansmen shouted threats and warnings at my mother that we had better get out of town because “the good Christian white people”‘ were not going to stand for my father’s “spreading trouble” among the “good” Negroes of Omaha with the “back to Africa” preachings of Marcus Garvey (1). This violent group, although not wanting Malcolm at the time, made Malcolm’s family move and that’s when problems started. Malcolm’s father died and his mother was “taken to the State Mental Hospital at Kalamazoo.” (2). This was the “last punch” to the Littles. By this time now, Malcolm realized how the “state social agencies” had destroyed his home, and that theirs was not the first, or last. That made him realize there was truth that needed to be brought to light.
Now a few years passed by and Malcolm had been through different stages in his life. After following bad steps, he ended up in jail for different types of crime; he had to do eight to ten years of jail time. Malcolm did not know yet, but this was the beginning of his new life.
During the time Malcolm was in jail, he discovered a new religion which he got devoted to, and that would change his life completely. The Nation of Islam or “black muslims” saw “whites” as the devil and Allah as their god. At the moment his brother told him about this, Malcolm went back in time and reflected on all the white people who did bad to him and his family, the KKK, the teachers, the agencies calling her mom crazy, etc… He found a strong connection to the Nation of Islam and started to research more into it and getting in the process of converting into the religion.
This Allah God for the black muslims had a messenger on Earth; his name was Elijah Muhammad. After learning all about Malcolm, Mr. Muhammad trusted him enough to make him his right hand. Now Minister Malcolm X would travel everywhere to inculcate the Nation of Islam’s beliefs onto other blacks, and spread the word that they were not less than the white race; they were superior. Elijah Muhammad though, saw Malcolm as a tool only and not his most trusted man. As Malcolm X said: “I first began to realize that I had believed in Mr. Muhammad more than he believed in himself” (3). He started to realize that Mr. Muhammad was not the man he thought he was according to all the new information coming out on him. There were witnesses of his adultery committed with two women early twenties. Although Malcolm would not believe in this at first, later on Elijah Muhammad’s past ministers showed X how he was just using him. He realized something at that point, and as he told Alex Haley: “I learned from these former secretaries of Mr. Muhammad that while he was praising me to my face, he was tearing me apart behind my back”(4).
Alex Haley was the author of this book The Autobiography of Malcolm X. He fought long to get Malcolm’s and Elijah’s comments on the Nation of Islam. None of them wanted to uncover anything on it, and it was not until Malcolm’s falling out with Mr. Muhammad that he started to open up to him. After a while both of them agreed of doing this autobiography on Malcolm, since he was the best example of a black muslim who was completely changed by the Nation of Islam. Questions have arise on weather it was an autobiography or a biography. It has both components of Malcolm and Alex; but since pretty much everything was approved by him before dying, we can conclude it has a high percentage of accuracy.
Malcolm X, as well as many other important figures like Marthin Luther King Jr. contributed to black freedom and equal treatment since 1945. Exactly in 1945 Malcolm X had just received his ten year sentence in jail. He was already a Minister for the Nation of Islam after the assassination of JFK and although advised not to, he gave a speech after his death. Malcolm was not just a black man, but also a muslim; so he had two reasons to fight for freedoms. He not just only helped to fight for his own race, the African-American race, but also for his religion and the Nation of Islam. Although he struggled during his youth years and ended up in prison, the Nation of Islam helped him to leave his past behind, but also acknowledge it and be proud of his black-muslim roots. Alex Haley depicts Malcolm X as a very strong black-muslim male that, just as the kids challenging the “white supremacy”, and participating in sit- ins, stood up for what they believed was right and fought literally to the end for equalization and freedom of all races.
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