Essay about Malcolm X

2055 Words Oct 2nd, 2003 9 Pages
Malcolm's life is a Horatio Alger story with a twist. His is not a "rags to riches" tale, but a powerful narrative of self-transformation from petty hustler to internationally known political leader. Born in Omaha,
Nebraska, the son of Louise and Earl Little, who was a Baptist preacher active in Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association,
Malcolm, along with his siblings, experienced dramatic confrontations with racism from childhood. Hooded Klansmen burned their home in
Lansing, Michigan; Earl Little was killed under mysterious circumstances; welfare agencies split up the children and eventually committed Louise Little to a state mental institution; and Malcolm was forced to live in a detention home run by
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On other issues, however, Malcolm showed signs of independence from the NOI line. During the mid-1950s, for example, he privately scoffed at Muhammad's interpretation of the genesis of the "white race" and seemed uncomfortable with the idea that all white people were literally devils. He was always careful to preface his remarks with "The honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches. . . ." More significantly, Malcolm clearly disagreed with the NOI's policy of not participating in politics.
He not only believed that political mobilization was indispensable but occasionally defied the rule by supporting boycotts and other forms of protest. In 1962, before he split with the NOI, Malcolm shared the podium with black, white, and Puerto Rican labor organizers in the left- wing, multiracial hospital workers' union in New York.

He also began developing an independent Pan-Africanist and, in some respects, "Third World" political perspective during the 1950s, when anticolonial wars and decolonization (see Decolonization in Africa: An
Interpretation) were pressing public issues. As early as 1954 Malcolm gave a speech comparing the situation in Vietnam (see Vietnam War) with that of the Mau Mau Rebellion in colonial Kenya, framing both of these movements as uprisings of the "darker races" creating a "tidal wave" against U.S. and

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