Malcolm X, a Muslim minister and black activist, who co-wrote his auto-biography, The Autobiography of Malcolm X , including the article, Learning to Read, written in 1965, illustrates his own life through which he attempts to impress upon his readers the need to become more self-reliant and to break the social constraints and the expectations of society.
The context for our presentation makes a huge amount of difference.
If we couldn’t define what civil rights was for Malcolm X, general equality and the ending of black slavery, we wouldn’t be able to understand his desires. The definition of civil rights of Malcolm’s time would be far from the definition of civil rights today, or even twenty years ago.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, dictated by Malcolm X, and written by Alex Haley, became a movement standard. Malcolm X's life story proved to the Black Panther Party, founded in 1966, that ex-criminals and hustlers could be turned into revolutionaries.
-Reinforces the idea that you don’t have to let the norms of society or even your ethnic background dictate what you can achieve
Speech titles: “A Message to the Grass Roots” “The Black Revolution” “The Ballet or the Bullet” “Prospects for Freedom in 1965” “A Worldwide Revolution”
-The publication of his various speeches stirred up ongoing and unsolved issues with African Americans, helping the public become aware and create change for not only themselves but their own people.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, he grew up with racial tension as a child
His father was involved in an association set on improving the lives of blacks which led to his death
One of his homes was burned by members of the Klu Klux Klan
At one time in his life he was forced to live with a racist white couple after being separated from his family
-These reasons are what drew about his dislike for white people and justified what he did and came to believe in later years.
In 1946 his source of income involving petty hustling, drug dealing, gambling, and so forth caught up to him and led to his arrest and ten year sentence in prison.
Upon his release in 1952 from prison, he became a devoted follower of the Black Muslim group led by Elijah Muhammad and ministered for him.
On March 8, 1964, he announced his resignation from the Lost Found Nation of Islam (NOI) after death threats from them for not following their strict rules, and formed the Muslim Mosque, Inc., an Islamic movement devoted to working in the political sphere and cooperating with civil rights leaders. Later in 1965 he was shot by a gunman affiliated with the NOI during one of his speeches.
“ The most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion, or national origin. The law also provides the federal government with the powers to enforce desegregation…the act specifically prohibited discrimination in voting, education, and the use of public facilities.”
“ In 1964 only two southern states (Tennessee and Texas) had more than 2% of their black students enrolled in integrated schools. Because of Title VI, about 6% of the black students in the South were in integrated schools by the next year.”
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivers a Radio and Television report to the American People on Civil Rights.
“ I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”
During the time of Malcolm X’s life, there were many social and political issues that impacted his views and are portrayed in his autobiography. These issues include civil rights, self-reliance, education, and black politics. Malcolm X, though, was not the only person that had something to say regarding these issues. At the time, there were several other important figures that expressed similar, as well as, different outlooks.
Author Barry Burke of the article ‘Malcolm X on Education’ agreed with his views that it is important to be self-reliant in regards to education.
“ Malcolm X is a fascinating person to approach as an educational thinker - not because he was an academic or had any scholastic achievements but as an example of what can be achieved by someone engages in 'homemade' or self-education.”
Peniel Joseph, author of ‘The Black Power Revolt’, also argues in favor of Malcolm X.
Malcolm reprimanded several civil rights activists for only keeping focus on the South when “their own Northern ghettos, right at home, had enough rats and roaches to kill to keep all of the Freedom Riders busy...The North’s liberals have been so long pointing accusing fingers at the South and getting away with it that they have fits when they are exposed as the world’s worst hypocrites.”
“ Joseph argues that, in fact, the roots of Black Power run much deeper. He locates them in the miserable conditions Blacks faced in big cities across the North.”
"I am not a Republican nor a Democrat, nor an American, and got sense enough to know it.”-Malcolm X ("Malcolm-X Make it plain" )
"I'm the man you think you are.... If you want to know what I'll do, figure out what you'll do. I'll do the same thing -- only more of it.“-Malcolm X
Human Dignity (or lack of)
"I'm not going to sit at your table and watch you eat, with nothing on my plate, and call myself a diner. Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what's on that plate. Being here in America doesn't make you an American.... No I'm not an American, I'm one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism. One of the 22 million black people who are the victims of democracy, nothing but disguised hypocrisy.... I'm speaking as a victim of this American system. And I see America through the eyes of a victim. I don't see any American dream; I see an American nightmare.“-Malcolm X
"We black men have a hard enough time in our own struggle for justice, and already have enough enemies as it is, to make the drastic mistake of attacking each other and adding more weight to an already unbearable load ." –Malcolm X
"Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.“-Malcolm X
"Without education, you're not going anywhere in this world.“
"My alma mater was books, a good library.... I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.“-Malcolm X
"The common goal of 22 million Afro-Americans is … to obtain the human rights that America has been denying us. We can never get civil rights in America until our human rights are first restored. " -Malcolm X
“ I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation, every form of discrimination. I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.” -Malcolm X.
Be self-reliant work for what you have, including your freedom
“ Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it.” –Malcolm X
“ If you're not ready to die for it, put the word 'freedom' out of your vocabulary.” -Malcolm X.
MALCOLM X : My personal economic philosophy is also black nationalism, which means that the black man should have a hand in controlling the economy of the so-called Negro community, he should be developing the type of knowledge that will enable him to own and operate the businesses and thereby be able to create employment for his own people, for his own kind. And the social philosophy also is black nationalism, which means that instead of the black man trying to force himself into the society of the white man, we should be trying to eliminate from our own society the ills and the defects and make ourselves likable and sociable among our own kind. ("Malcolm-X Make it plain" )