The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Malcom’s half-sister through his father Earl, Ella is a strong, independent dark-skinned woman who immediately impresses Malcolm. She supports him moving from Lansing, Michigan to Boston with her and continues to support him financially and emotionally throughout his life. Malcolm refers to her numerous marriages as proof that she was too strong and too independent for any one man.

Ella Little Quotes in The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The The Autobiography of Malcolm X quotes below are all either spoken by Ella Little or refer to Ella Little. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ballantine Books edition of The Autobiography of Malcolm X published in 1992.
Chapter 3 Quotes

I looked like Li'l Abner. Mason, Michigan, was written all over me. My kinky, reddish hair was cut hick style, and I didn't even use grease in it. My green suit's coat sleeves stopped above my wrists, the pants legs showed three inches of socks. Just a shade lighter green than the suit was my narrow-collared, three-quarter length Lansing department store topcoat. My appearance was too much for even Ella. But she told me later she had seen countrified members of the Little family come up from Georgia in even worse shape than I was.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker), Ella Little
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:
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I spent the first month in town with my mouth hanging open. The sharp dressed young "cats" who hung on the corners and in the poolrooms, bars and restaurants, and who obviously didn't work anywhere, completely entranced me. I couldn't get over marveling at how their hair was straight and shiny like white men's hair; Ella told me this was called a "conk.”

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker), Ella Little
Related Symbols: The “Conk”
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 6 Quotes

The Boston draft board had written me at Ella's, and when they had no results there, had notified the New York draft board, and, in care of Sammy, I received Uncle Sam's Greetings. In those days only three things in the world scared me: jail, a job, and the Army.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker), Ella Little, “Sammy the Pimp”
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 11 Quotes

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 life.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker), Elijah Muhammad, Ella Little, Reginald Little
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ella Little Character Timeline in The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The timeline below shows where the character Ella Little appears in The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Nightmare
Race and Racism in America Theme Icon
Family and Dysfunction Theme Icon
...Reginald was born in Milwaukee. Earl had three children from a previous marriage as well: Ella, Earl, and Mary, all living in Boston. Malcolm’s mother Louise comes from Granada, and is... (full context)
Chapter 2: Mascot
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One day Ella, Malcolm’s half-sister, writes to the family and decides to come from Boston to visit. A... (full context)
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...Greyhound bus while wearing his green suit. He’s headed to Boston, where he’ll stay with Ella for the summer. He soon falls in love with the thriving black culture in Roxbury,... (full context)
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Finally, Malcolm decides it’s time to get out of Mason, and he writes to Ella. She helps him arrange to come and live with her in Boston, and he heads... (full context)
Chapter 3: “Homeboy”
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...his mint green, high-water suit, completely out of fashion and clearly from the countryside. Even Ella is embarrassed by him; but, he notes, his funny appearance will later be a fond... (full context)
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Ella is an extremely accommodating host. She fixes Malcolm a room and feeds him heaps of... (full context)
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On Ella’s advice, Malcolm sets out to explore and get to know Boston. He first walks around... (full context)
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...spend more and more time in the “ghetto” part of Roxbury, attracted by its excitement. Ella grows concerned, trying to convince him to meet the other kids his age in the... (full context)
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By the time Malcolm gets home, Shorty has already left a message with Ella that a position as a shoe shine boy has opened at the Roseland State Ballroom.... (full context)
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While Ella doesn’t approve of Malcolm’s new attire, she accepts it as inevitable, given the style of... (full context)
Chapter 4: Laura
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...Malcolm quits his job so that he can join the others on the dance floor. Ella is pleased he quit, and Shorty says he knew Malcolm would outgrow being a shoe... (full context)
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Ella, thrilled that Malcolm no longer shines shoes, finds him a job as a soda fountain... (full context)
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The night of the dance, Malcolm brings Laura to Ella’s house so he can change into his blue zoot suit. Ella immediately falls head over... (full context)
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Ella soon finds out about Sophia and makes her disapproval very clear. Malcolm then moves in... (full context)
Chapter 5: Harlemite
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Through a friend of Ella’s, Malcolm lands a job working for the railroad, due to the war causing a labor... (full context)
Chapter 6: Detroit Red
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With no obligations, Malcolm makes a trip to Boston. He visits with Ella, who still doesn’t approve of his life, but is pleasant. He calls Sophia to meet... (full context)
Chapter 9: Caught
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Ella cannot believe how profane Malcolm has become in both his speech and in his general... (full context)
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...always, Malcolm is very happy to see his closest brother. Malcolm also says that while Ella still disapproved of his lifestyle, he believes she secretly admired his rebellious ways, as she... (full context)
Chapter 10: Satan
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...prison psychologist, prison chaplain, and Malcolm’s religious brother Philbert, who has written him a letter. Ella comes to visit, but they have very little to say, especially under the watch of... (full context)
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Ella has been working to get Malcolm transferred to the Norfolk Prison Colony, and she succeeds... (full context)
Chapter 11: Saved
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...heed to his conversation. Reginald’s appearance grows shabbier, and he goes back to Detroit. Then Ella comes to visit, and tells Malcolm that Reginald showed up at her door in Boston,... (full context)
Chapter 12: Savior
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After staying a night with Ella (who also believes he should go to Detroit, but does not share his religious beliefs),... (full context)
Chapter 13: Minister Malcolm X
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Malcolm’s sister Ella starts to come around and hear him preach, listening in the back but never saying... (full context)
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One day, while guest preaching in Boston, Malcolm is astonished to see his half-sister Ella among those standing, signaling her readiness to follow Elijah Muhammad. It may have taken five... (full context)
Chapter 16: Out
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...spiritually. He travels to Boston to once again ask for the help of his sister, Ella. He tells her he wants to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, a spiritual requirement for... (full context)
Chapter 17: Mecca
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Malcolm also feels inspired by his sister Ella, who has freely broken with the Nation of Islam. Instead, she’s joined an orthodox mosque... (full context)
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Malcolm then writes more versions of essentially the same letter to his sister Ella, Dr. Shawarbi, Wallace Muhammad (who had advocated for the Nation to move towards orthodox Islam)... (full context)