To fit into his new urban environment, Malcolm altered his outward appearance, treating his hair with corrosive chemicals to straighten it and frequently wearing a zoot suit. As "Detroit Red," a name derived from his fair complexion and red hair, he made his living as a hustler, pimp, and drug dealer.
Malcolm was arrested in early and sentenced to ten years in prison. Another convict, Bimbi, introduced him to the prison's extensive library, and Malcolm became an avid reader. When his siblings revealed to him that they had become followers of Elijah Muhammad—the leader of the Nation of Islam, popularly known as the Black Muslims—Malcolm pored over Muhammad's teachings and initiated a daily correspondence with the man.
Upon his release from prison in , Malcolm became a follower of Muhammad. He took the name "Malcolm X" to signify the loss of his true African name and to reject the "slave name" of Little. He believed that every black person would gravitate to Muhammad's teachings, for "when he thinks about his own life, he is going to see where, to him personally, the white man sure has acted like a devil.
There he became known as an articulate spokesperson for the radical black perspective. In addition to denouncing integration, nonviolence, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Kennedy a case of "chickens coming home to roost"—a statement that severely damaged Malcolm's career. He later explained that he meant only that "the hate in white men … finally had struck down the President," but he was immediately censured by Muhammad.
Muhammad ordered him to refrain from public comment for ninety days, and Malcolm complied. But his remark about the Kennedy assassination gave Muhammad an opportunity to expel his national minister from the movement's hierarchy, for Malcolm had been in conflict with the leader of the Nation of Islam for some time.
Malcolm had privately condemned Muhammad's materialism—his expensive cars and business suits and lavishly furnished estate—and was shocked by allegations that Muhammad had seduced several women and sired their children. In Mecca he underwent a transformation in his beliefs: I have friends who are called capitalists, Socialists, and Communists!
Some of my friends are moderates, conservatives, extremists—some are even Uncle Toms! My friends today are black, brown, red, yellow, and white! However, Malcolm now believed that the Nation of Islam saw him as a threat.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X , which details Malcolm X's life from infancy to the time of his assassination, was published posthumously, and although some critics questioned Alex Haley's influence over the work's production, commentators generally agreed that the story is Malcolm's own. The Last Speeches , but his autobiography remains by far his most noted contribution to literature. As Malcolm X has increasingly been recognized as a leading figure in the African-American struggle for recognition and equality.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X has grown in stature. In , filmmaker Spike Lee directed a widely-known screen version of the Autobiography. Of the importance of Malcolm X's memoir, Charles H. Nichols asserted in It is a fantastic success story. Paradoxically, the book, designed to be an indictment of American and European bigotry and exploitation, is a triumphant affirmation of the possibilities of the human spirit.
It has been noted that whether those who heard him speak agreed with his contentions did not determine whether they would be profoundly affected by the delivery of his message, if only in the sense that they marveled at the dynamic wordplay, imagery, and symbolism used by the speaker. John Illo, in an essay published in , illustrated Malcolm X's skill as an orator, and asserted that Malcolm X "emerged from dope, prostitution, burglary, prison, and a fanciful sectarianism to enter a perennial humanist art, to achieve a brilliant facility in oratory and debate, in less time than many of us consume in ambling through graduate school….
In the full Aristotelian meaning he was a rhetorician, who, to be such, knew more than rhetoric: The Last Speeches speeches He was born Malcolm Little, the son of an educated mulatto West Indian mother and a father who was a Baptist minister on Sundays and dedicated organizer for Any honest attempt to understand the total man must begin with some understanding of the significant components that went into his making. In a nation of images without substances, of rehearsed emotions, in a politic of consensus where platitude replaces belief or belief is fashioned by consensus, genuine rhetoric, like authentic prose, must be rare.
For rhetoric, like any verbal art, is correlative with the pristine idea of reason and justice which, if it decays with the growth of every state and jurisprudence, now has developed into an unreason that aggressively claims the allegiance of the national mind.
In the month of June, , the Negro protest movement entered a new phase. For the first time, during the so-called "Meredith march" to Jackson, Miss. The expanding prestige and stature of the Black Muslim movement attracted hundreds of adherents, and many of them were brilliant like the late Malcolm Little whose pseudonym was "Malcolm X. In Malcolm X was asked by a free-lance writer named Alex Haley to tell the story of his life, so that it could be published as a full-scale autobiography.
Malcolm X was at that time the chief of staff of an American religious sect called the Nation of Islam, whose members were identified as 'Black Muslims' by the national press.
Malcolm X, prior to his death in , found most of his support in the urban ghetto masses. He was assassinated five years ago this week. Elijah Muhammad disassociated the Muslims from the statement and prohibited Malcolm X from speaking publicly for the next ninety days. After this break with Muhammad, Malcolm sought to internationalize the Afro-American freedom struggle. He announced the formation of the Muslim Mosque, Incorporated.
In April he left for Mecca. During the summer of , Malcolm returned to Africa and was accorded observer status at the heads of states summit conference of the OAU. The conference passed a resolution deploring racism in the United States. He pointed out that the persistence of racism would lead to racial violence and the need of Afro-American self-defense.
To some middle-class integrationists, his pilgrimage had transformed him into one of them. Some nationalists were offended by his acceptance of interracial brotherhood. By this time, he believed that leaders of the Nation of Islam and even more powerful elements within the American government wanted him dead; a week later he was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem.
Although Butler and Johnson were Black Muslims, the trial did not reveal whether or not the assassins were a part of a conspiracy. Carl Rowan, the first black director of the U. Eventually, however, the severe strain overwhelmed her and she succumbed to mental illness. Louise Little was then placed in a mental institution and her children were sent separately to various foster homes. But even those hopes faded after he confided to his high school English teacher that he hoped to someday become a lawyer, whereupon the teacher urged him towards a vocation instead of a profession and told him to be realistic about being a nigger.
That February, three months before his twenty-first birthday, he was sentenced to ten years in prison. In the penitentiary Malcolm continued his reckless ways, using drugs and presenting such an unsavory demeanor that his fellow inmates referred to him as Satan.
Because of his vicious behavior he was often held in solitary confinement. Through the library Malcolm broadened his education and familiarized himself with subjects ranging from philosophy to politics. That was a very bad statement, Elijah Muhammad told him.
The country loved this man. He ordered Malcolm X to refrain from public comment for ninety days, and Malcolm complied. Once he began operating outside the Black Muslim, Malcolm X was apparently perceived as a threat to the organization.
But he was undaunted and continued to speak on behalf of black unity and harmony. On February 21, , he stepped to the podium in a Harlem ballroom and greeted the audience of four hundred that had gathered to hear him speak. Within seconds at least three men rose from their seats and began firing at Malcolm X with shotguns and pistols. Seven shots slammed him backwards while spectators scrambled for cover.
As gunfire continued more than thirty shots were reportedly heard daring witnesses attacked and subdued the assassins. In the years since his death Malcolm X has come to be recognized as a leading figure in the black struggle for recognition and equality.
The autobiography Malcolm X, published the same year as his death, is highly regarded as a moving account of his own experiences with racism, his criminal past, and his years as an activist for both the Black Muslims and his own Afro-American organization. America in the s. Hi there, would you like to get such a paper?
Malcolm X – (Born Malcolm Little; changed name to Malcolm X; later adopted religious name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) American autobiographer, orator, and speechwriter. The following entry provides an overview of Malcolm X's career through
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Sample Essays. Malcolm Little, known as Malcolm X later on in his life, was born on May 19, in Omaha, Nebraska. Earl and Louis Norton Little, his parents, worked hard to . Free Essay: Throughout history there have been many people who have stood out and made an impact in the way we think and comprehend things. During the late.
Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska. Malcolm's father was murdered by a white supremacists group while in Lancing, Michigan. His mother was declared legally insane and committed to the state mental hospital.5/5(1). Introduction: Malcolm X was a black civil rights leader in the s in the U.S. In the U.S, blacks were segregated by the Jim Crow Laws. Black.