Malcom X

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MALCOLM X Learning to Read Malcolm Little, born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925, was reborn Malcolm X in his twenties while imprisoned for burglary. (He considered "Little" a slave name and chose the "X" to signify his lost African tribal name.) His conversion to Islam under the Nation of Islam and his rigorous self-education led him to a life ofpolitical activism marked by hatred, violence, and hope. For a time, as the foremost spokesman of the Nation of Islam, Malcolm preached a separatist philosophy with racist rhetoric; on breaking with the Nation of Islam and converting to orthodox Islam after a pilgrimage to Mecca, Malcolm again changed his name (to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) and philosophy, moving closer to the integrationist goals…show more content…
5 I was so fascinated that I went on—I copied the dictionary's ro next page. And the same experience came when I studied that. With every succeeding page, I also learned of people and places and events from history. Actually the dictionary is like a miniature encyclopedia. Finally the dictionary's A section had filled a whole tablet—and I went on into the B's. That was the way I started copying what eventually became the entire dictionary. It went a lot faster after so much practice helped me to pick up handwriting speed. Between what I wrote in my tablet, and writing letters, during the rest of my time in prison I would guess I wrote a million words. I suppose it was inevitable that as my word-base broadened, I could for the first time pick up a book and read and now begin to understand what the book was saying. Anyone who has read a great deal can imagine the new world that opened. Let me tell you something: from then until I left that prison, in every free moment I had, if I was not reading in the library I was reading on my bunk. You couldn't have gotten me out of books with a wedge. Between Mr. Muhammad's teachings, my correspondence, my visitors—usually Ella and Reginald—and my reading of books, months passed without my even thinking about being imprisoned. In fact, up to then, I never had been so truly free in my
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