Essay, Research Paper: Malcolm Hendrix

Famous People

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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 1950's and
early 1960's, Malcolm X was no exception. His militant views that Western
nations were inherently racist and that black people must join together to build
their own society and value system had an important influence on black
nationalist and black separatist movements of the 1950s and 1960s. At the
beginning of the movie, Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little. He was a young child
trying to adapt to society's changes. He was looking so hard that he fell into
the wrong crowd. Malcolm bumped into a man named Archie who was a big time
thief. Archie ran a numbers system in the streets and he convinced Malcolm to
join him. Malcolm became a scoundrel with an evil demeanor. Malcolm's business
partner, was a white woman by the name of Sophia. They were on drugs and even
robbed a house. Because of their antics, the law was on their trail. They
eventually caught and sent to prison. Malcolm was sentenced to 8 years in prison
while Sophia was only sentenced to 2 years because she was white. This relates
to the social organization of arrest, which suggest that police arrest blacks at
a higher rate than whites. While Malcolm was in jail, he was well known to the
guards. One time he was asked to state his number, but instead he said he forgot
his number. The guards beat the hell out of him and sent him to the darkroom. In
the darkroom he met Brother Baines. Baines was a man everyone respected
including the guards. He was know as the real man and gave speeches about Islam.
Malcolm didn't want to listen to him at first, but Baines's cool style helped
Malcolm realize that Islam is for him and that the white man is the devil. While
in prison, Malcolm read widely and developed an interest in the Nation of Islam,
a Black Nationalist religious movement whose members were known as Black
Muslims. Malcolm studied the teachings of the leader of the Black Muslims,
Elijah Muhammad, who advocated an independent black state. The Nation of Islam
was based on a theology adapted from several models: traditional Islamic
teachings principles of Black Nationalism, and economic self-help programs that
addressed the needs of African Americans living in urban ghettoes. Unlike
traditional Islam, which rejects all forms of racism, the Nation of Islam
declared that whites were the "devil by nature," and that God was
black. However, the Black Muslims predicted that in the near future a Great War
would take place in which whites would be destroyed and black people would rule
the world through the benevolence of Allah, their creator. To prepare for this
new order, the Nation of Islam stressed personal self-restraint, opposed the use
of drugs and alcohol, and organized economic self-help enterprises that
eventually included farms, food stores, restaurants, and small businesses. The
Black Muslims recruited heavily among the poorest of urban blacks and in
prisons, where Malcolm Little was converted to the faith. Instead of wasting his
time in prison and getting into more trouble, Malcolm decided to change his
lifestyle and devise a plan to better himself. He goes through a gleaning stage.
He began to read and expand his mind. As he did this, a world of knowledge
opened up to him. He also tried to improve himself in other ways. He worked on
his social skills and his physical appearance. He decides not to associate
himself with former friends he got in trouble with and forms new relationships
with people who want to make a change. One of the converted men, Brother Johnson
was in an altercation with the police. The police said he was not quick enough
to get out of the way so they beat him almost to death because of his race. This
is another example of racial conflict. Malcolm was furious. He rushed to the
police station to see Johnson, but the police denied Malcolm permission to see
Johnson. Malcolm said that he would see Johnson and that he wasn't leaving until
he did. After a long struggle he got wish. While Malcolm was inside, his
brothers were lined up outside the station like an army. Many of the police said
that Malcolm had too much power. The police tried to use that as propaganda
against Malcolm. They were trying to convince the members of Islam that Malcolm
was too powerful and more important than Muhammad. This is a type of organized
crime used by the police. Malcolm X left a very complicated legacy and affected
many blacks and whites. His personal journey from petty criminal to spiritual
leader was unique. He was admired for how he transformed himself intellectually
from a preacher of racial hatred to an advocate of interracial and international
brotherhood. Malcolm X significantly elevated black consciousness in the United
States. He asserted in the most forceful terms that "black is
beautiful," and that African Americans must take control of their own
destiny. Always charismatic and witty, his words and speeches provided quotes
for people with many different social and political goals. His most enduring
message remains one of black self-respect and self-help, combined with his
uncompromising rejection of racism.

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