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Key to Success 1

Diondra Sams

Professor Frank Riley

History 200.005

December 07, 2010

Education is the Key to Success

Our effort at securing a better future is through education. Tomorrow belongs to

those people who prepare for it today and not just hope for a brighter day. There was a

famous black leader by the name of Malcolm X. I speak of him because he reminds me

of myself; he was so dedicated to his education while he was in prison. This dedication

to his education encourages me to take a closer look at his book, The autobiography of

Malcolm X. The book talks about his life on the streets and in prison. Malcolm X was

one of our famous black leaders who fought for human rights. Malcolm did not only

speak out for the Black community but for oppressed people everywhere. Thus, Malcolm

became an archetype of society due to the outstanding contributions he made to raise the

level of our consciousness to fight for human dignity.

The autobiography of Malcolm X provides valuable insight into the mind of the

man. He was one of the most out spoken human rights leaders of his time. This book was

published posthumously as a literary piece of work. Malcolm X was born known as

Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925, by the time of his death (February 21, 1965) he was

also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. He was an African American Muslim minister

and the book also mentions his abilities as a public speaker and human rights activist. To

his admirers, especially me, he was a courageous advocate for the rights of African
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Americans. He indicts white American in the harshest terms for its crimes against Black

Americans. His opponents accused him of preaching racism and violence but the book

made it clear that Malcolm X was about the redemption of oppressed people. There were

many different stages of Malcolm X’s life.

“The autobiography represents four of these stages. Malcolm X was known by

many different names. He was Detroit Red, Malcolm Little, Malcolm X and Omawale. It

could be said that his many names is what gives the book it’s most significant attribute.

He changed his surname to "X". In his autobiography, Malcolm explained that the “X,”

symbolizes the true African family name that he never could know. “For me, my 'X'

replaced the white slave master name of 'Little' which some blue-eyed devil named Little

had imposed upon my paternal forebears.” With a name that represent this, can be a

barrier for a successful future; however Mr. X overcome it all. His perseverance helps

him to make it to the top. Of all the public figures in American history, Malcolm X is one

of the most complex; his thoughts and feelings are discussed throughout the book, which

serves as a great piece of literary work for readers like me who appreciates the

importance of his accomplishments. I am deeply touched by his efforts to educate himself

while he was incarcerated. At that point in the book, I said to myself, I am a free person

and there is more opportunity out here than in jail so I should definitely use the

opportunity I have to educate myself.

Malcolm has been described as one of the greatest and most influential African

Americans in history. Born in Omaha, Nebraska and by the time he was 13, his father

had died and his mother had been committed to a mental hospital. His childhood,

including his father's lessons concerning black pride, self-reliance in addition to his own
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experiences concerning race, played a significant role in Malcolm X's adult life. The

author depicts Malcolm’s’ childhood as troubled. After living in a series of foster homes,

he became involved in a life of the crime in Boston and New York. In 1945, Malcolm

was sentenced to 8-10 years in prison. His experiences in prison helped to shape his life

and determine his future. While in prison, Malcolm became a member of the Nation of

Islam. Upon his parole in 1952, he became one of the Nation's leaders and chief

spokesmen. For nearly a dozen years; he was the public face of the Nation of Islam but

that ended when tension between Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad began to emerge.

Malcolm departed from the organization in March of 1964. After leaving he became a

Sunni Muslim and made a pilgrimage to Mecca. He traveled extensively throughout

Africa and the Middle East. He founded Muslim Mosque, Inc., a religious organization,

and the secular, Black Nationalist Organization of Afro-American Unity. Malcolm was

equally critical of the civil rights movement. He described its leaders as "stooges" for

the white establishment and said that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a "chump". He

criticized the 1963 March on Washington, which he called "the farce on Washington".

He said he did not know why black people were excited over a demonstration "run by

whites in front of a statue of a president who has been dead for a hundred years and who

didn’t like us when he was alive". The book brings to the fore front Malcolm’s successes

and failures. Without his autobiography, I would have never known of the many struggles

he went through.

Whether the readers of this book consider it a life story or a life history; Malcolm

thoughts were clear and concise. The author had a daunting task to perform in lending

justice to a subject as complex as Malcolm’s but he did it in a way that would surely
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render this book as classic. It could be said that this book is one of the most influential

nonfiction literary works. This book has expanded my knowledge because it reveals the

struggles of another civil right activist, who fights for human dignity in an unjust society.

After reading this autobiography, Medgar Wiley Evers and Frederick Douglas came to

my mind because they are all Black human activists who believe that all races should be

giving the same opportunity. These famous men bring tears to my eyes because

throughout their struggles they continue to teach themselves how to read and write. They

pave the way of life for us so we can all follow but yet still some of us refuse to! This

really hurts my heart, after all this hard work we still play around, why? Medgar Evers

dedicated his life for the freedom we have to educate ourselves today. We should really

appreciate his hard work because dreams without hard work are imaginary. Everything in

our lives today should be touched by education. All of our ancestors realize this but most

of us do not, why? When Fredrick Douglas realizes that his struggles of been a slave was

over and he have the key any man would want; he later wrote, "A new world had opened

upon me." "Anguish and grief, like darkness and rain, may be depicted, but gladness and

joy, like the rainbow, defy the skill of pen or pencil." This quote clearly shows you that

education is the key and hard work is necessary. They all fought for a reason and it is

proven that educate is real so educate yourself.