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Autobiography of Malcolm X

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"We declare our right on this earth...to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary." These words were spoken by Malcolm X, a civil rights leader and political activist. He is also the main character, narrator, and author of the Autobiography of Malcolm X. The autobiography takes place in various cities in the United States, such as Omaha, New York, and Detroit, as well as the Middle East, and Africa.

Considering the type of literature this is, it is obvious to state that Malcolm X is the main character. Malcolm X, as a child, was intelligent and popular amongst his friends. He had graduated middle school as the top of his class. His interest and devotion to school was crushed when he told a favorite teacher of his dreams of becoming a lawyer, in which the teacher responded that being a lawyer was "no realistic goal for a nigger." After dropping out of school, he became a street hustler, and was soon arrested and convicted. While in prison, he educated himself, and learned of the Nation of Islam, the religion to which he soon converted. The next character, Elijah Muhammad was the spiritual “leader” of the NOI, and was greatly respected by Malcolm, even before they had met. Malcolm had married Betty Shabazz, and had five children.

The major conflict in the Autobiography of Malcolm X would be the racism of America at the time, as well as the allegations against his leader and mentor, Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm became a minister in the Nation of Islam, and preached against the white man, thus, in some critic’s opinions, inciting the conflict by increasing tension between blacks and whites.

Malcolm X was born as Malcolm Little, in Omaha, Nebraska to Earl and Louise Little. Earl was a Baptist preacher from Georgia, and was the target of the Ku Klux Klan one night while Louise was pregnant. She was conceived with Malcolm when she was raped by a white man who she never knew, and stayed at home to cook and clean, despite being able to find work by passing as a white woman due to her fair skin color. Malcolm was soon born, and 4 years later, the family moved to Lansing, Michigan, in 1929. Their house was burned down by the KKK, and Malcolm had witnessed it. He said that it taught him one of many things he was soon to learn about being black in America. The next year, a group of white men who are in opposition of his father’s work kill him. The insurance company refuses to cover the family’s losses, because they ruled his death as a suicide. Malcolm’s mother is soon sent to a mental hospital, and he went to stay with a white foster family. Before long, Malcolm drops out of high school, and goes to Boston and New York, where he hustled, and was soon arrested. It was in prison where Malcolm educated himself, and learned of Elijah Muhammad, and his organization: the Nation of Islam. Malcolm is fascinated by the teachings of the group, and has great respect for them and Muhammad. He then converted religions, and, once out of prison, became a Minister in the NOI. It was Muhammad who gave Malcolm the legendary “X”, in place of Little, which was his “slave name.” Malcolm preached his beliefs, and was soon known for his speeches against the white man, on black oppression, and on the beliefs of “White America.”

As Malcolm continued to preach, he was continually being exposed to rumors of Elijah Muhammad’s affairs with his secretaries outside of his marriage. Adultery was strongly shunned upon in the Nation, and hearing of this had unsettled Malcolm, but, he had brushed it aside, and continued his work. Eventually, he had investigated these rumors himself, and not only found out that they were true, but had them confirmed by Muhammad himself.

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