The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Malcolm X Character Analysis

Malcolm goes through multiple transformations in his life, which are reflected in his various names. There is Malcolm Little, the small-town boy from Lansing, Michigan; “Detroit Red”, the Roxbury and Harlem hustler; Malcolm X, the minister and national icon of the Nation of Islam; and El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, the orthodox Muslim fresh from the Hajj (a holy pilgrimage to Mecca) and ready to start a more inclusive mosque. Through it all, Malcolm displays an intense passion for learning and a stunning intelligence, whether as a young student or while in prison, where he would read for the entire day and join public debates with other well-read inmates. Furthermore, Malcolm has a shrewd eye for understanding his environment. Like a sixth sense, he always knows when the tide is turning against him, as when the police in Harlem begin to catch onto him dealing drugs. Malcolm X is assassinated before the publication of his autobiography, but he remains a crucial figure in American history and the fight for black rights.

Malcolm X Quotes in The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The The Autobiography of Malcolm X quotes below are all either spoken by Malcolm X or refer to Malcolm X . 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 1 Quotes

It has always been my belief that I, too, will die by violence. I have done all that I can to be prepared.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker)
Page Number: 2
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Back when I was growing up, the "successful" Lansing Negroes were such as waiters and bootblacks. To be a janitor at some downtown store was to be highly respected. The real "elite," the "big shots," the "voices of the race," were the waiters at the Lansing Country Club and the shoeshine boys at the state capitol. The only Negroes who really had any money were the ones in the numbers racket, or who ran the gambling houses, or who in some other way lived parasitically off the poorest ones, who were the masses. No Negroes were hired then by Lansing's big Oldsmobile plant, or the Reo plant… The bulk of the Negroes were either on Welfare, or W.P.A., or they starved.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker)
Page Number: 5-6
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Eventually my mother suffered a complete breakdown, and the court orders were finally signed. They took her to the State Mental Hospital at Kalamazoo.

It was seventy-some miles from Lansing, about an hour and a half on the bus. A Judge McClellan in Lansing had authority over me and all of my brothers and sisters. We were "state children," court wards; he had the full say-so over us. A white man in charge of a black man's children! Nothing but legal, modern slavery—however kindly intentioned.

Page Number: 21
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Chapter 2 Quotes

"Malcolm, one of life's first needs is for us to be realistic. Don't misunderstand me, now. We all here like you, you know that. But you've got to be realistic about being a nigger. A lawyer—that's no realistic goal for a nigger. You need to think about something you can be. You're good with your hands—making things. Everybody admires your carpentry shop work. Why don't you plan on carpentry? People like you as a person—you'd get all kinds of work."

Related Characters: Mr. Ostrowski (speaker), Malcolm X
Page Number: 38
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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
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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
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"The main thing you got to remember is that everything in the world is a hustle. So long, Red.”

Related Characters: Freddie (speaker), Malcolm X
Page Number: 51
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Chapter 4 Quotes

Shorty would take me to groovy, frantic scenes in different chicks' and cats' pads, where with the lights and juke down mellow, everybody blew gage and juiced back and jumped. I met chicks who were fine as May wine, and cats who were hip to all happenings.
That paragraph is deliberate, of course; it's just to display a bit more of the slang that was used by everyone I respected as "hip" in those days. And in no time at all, I was talking the slang like a lifelong hipster.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker), Shorty
Page Number: 59
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Chapter 5 Quotes

We were in that world of Negroes who are both servants and psychologists, aware that white people are so obsessed with their own importance that they will pay liberally, even dearly, for the impression of being catered to and entertained.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker)
Page Number: 78
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Chapter 6 Quotes

In one sense, we were huddled in there, bonded together in seeking security and warmth and comfort from each other, and we didn't know it. All of us—who might have probed space, or cured cancer, or built industries—were, instead, black victims of the white man's American social system. In another sense, the tragedy of the once master pickpocket made him, for those brother old-timer hustlers, a "there but for the grace of God" symbol. To wolves who still were able to catch some rabbits, it had meaning that an old wolf who had lost his fangs was still eating.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker), Fewclothes
Page Number: 93
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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
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Chapter 7 Quotes

There I was back in Harlem's streets among all the rest of the hustlers. I couldn't sell reefers; the dope squad detectives were too familiar with me. I was a true hustler—uneducated, unskilled at anything honorable, and I considered myself nervy and cunning enough to live by my wits, exploiting any prey that presented itself. I would risk just about anything.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker)
Page Number: 111
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Chapter 9 Quotes

It was in this way that for one period, one of our best periods, I remember, we specialized in Oriental rugs. I have always suspected that the fence himself sold the rugs to the people we stole them from. But, anyway, you wouldn't imagine the value of those things. I remember one small one that brought us a thousand dollars. There's no telling what the fence got for it. Every burglar knew that fences robbed the burglars worse than the burglars had robbed the victims.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker), Shorty, Sophia, Rudy , Sophia’s sister
Page Number: 147-148
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Chapter 10 Quotes

I was going through the hardest thing, also the greatest thing, for any human being to do; to accept that which is already within you, and around you.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker), Reginald Little
Page Number: 167
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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
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Chapter 12 Quotes

And Allah blessed me to remain true, firm and strong in my faith in Islam, despite many severe trials to my faith. And even when events produced a crisis between Elijah Muhammad and me, I told him at the beginning of the crisis, with all the sincerity I had in me, that I still believed in him more strongly than he believed in himself.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker), Elijah Muhammad
Page Number: 202
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Chapter 14 Quotes

“Today's Uncle Tom doesn't wear a handkerchief on his head. This modern, twentieth-century Uncle Thomas now often wears a top hat. He's usually well-dressed and well-educated. He's often the personification of culture and refinement. The twentieth-century Uncle Thomas sometimes speaks with a Yale or Harvard accent. Sometimes he is known as Professor, Doctor, Judge, and Reverend, even Right Reverend Doctor. This twentieth-century Uncle Thomas is a professional Negro . . . by that I mean his profession is being a Negro for the white man.”

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker), Elijah Muhammad
Page Number: 248
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Chapter 15 Quotes

The white liberal may be a little taken aback to know that from all-Negro audiences I never have had one challenge, never one question that defended the white man. That has been true even when a lot of those "black bourgeoisie" and "integration" -mad Negroes were among the blacks. All Negroes, among themselves, admit the white man's criminal record. They may not know as many details as I do, but they know the general picture.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker)
Page Number: 289
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Chapter 16 Quotes

And that was how, after twelve years of never thinking for as much as five minutes about myself, I became able finally to muster the nerve, and the strength, to start facing the facts, to think for myself.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker), Elijah Muhammad
Page Number: 313
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Chapter 17 Quotes

Back at the Frankfurt airport, we took a United Arab Airlines plane on to Cairo. Throngs of people, obviously Muslims from everywhere, bound on the pilgrimage, were hugging and embracing. They were of all complexions, the whole atmosphere was of warmth and friendliness. The feeling hit me that there really wasn't any color problem here. The effect was as though I had just stepped out of a prison.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker)
Page Number: 328
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Chapter 19 Quotes

I told him, "What you are telling me is that it isn't the American white man who is a racist, but it's the American political, economic, and social atmosphere that automatically nourishes a racist psychology in the white man." He agreed.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker)
Page Number: 378
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Epilogue Quotes

But this was the kind of evidence which caused many close observers of the Malcolm X phenomenon to declare in absolute seriousness that he was the only Negro in America who could either start a race riot—or stop one. When I once quoted this to him, tacitly inviting his comment, he told me tartly, "I don't know if I could start one. I don't know if I'd want to stop one." It was the kind of statement he relished making.

Related Characters: Malcolm X (speaker), Alex Haley (speaker)
Page Number: 403
Explanation and Analysis:
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Malcolm X Character Timeline in The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The timeline below shows where the character Malcolm X appears in The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Nightmare
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As the autobiography begins, Malcolm X describes how his mother (Louise), pregnant with Malcolm himself, confronts a gang of Ku... (full context)
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...violence, and indeed, Earl and four of his five brothers will die from violence. Here Malcolm interrupts to say that he feels that he, too, will die by violence. (full context)
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Malcolm is born on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska, the fourth of Louise Little’s children.... (full context)
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...Black Legion, a splinter group of the Ku Klux Klan. One night in 1929, which Malcolm calls the “nightmare night,” the Black Legion sets their house on fire. Earl shoots his... (full context)
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...family a home outside of town with his own hands. This will be the house Malcolm remembers as his childhood home. The police and firefighters, meanwhile, do nothing about the attack,... (full context)
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Earl Little was a violent man, Malcolm says, often beating his wife (probably because of Louise’s educated way of talking back) and... (full context)
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Malcolm has memories of his father preaching in various churches, full of emotion as he led... (full context)
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The black people who attend his father’s services, Malcolm tells us, were and still are in “bad shape.” By this he means that they... (full context)
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The other image Malcolm has of his father Earl is of him leading meetings, spreading Marcus Garvey’s philosophy. At... (full context)
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...her dietary restrictions (she refused to eat pork and rabbit). Unlike Earl, she frequently beat Malcolm, and he suspects this was precisely because of his lighter skin; she unconsciously despised him... (full context)
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At five, Malcolm began going to school with his other siblings. The schools were integrated, but nobody made... (full context)
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...doesn’t come home, the family heads to bed, the children all aware of the tension. Malcolm awakes to the sounds of Louise screaming; Earl has been run over by a streetcar.... (full context)
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Malcolm doesn’t remember much of the funeral, other than it happening outside of a church –... (full context)
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...and begins to work in town. Hilda takes care of the younger kids. Philbert and Malcolm, meanwhile, fight each other and anyone else they meet, with Reginald tagging along. Louise tries... (full context)
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...old bread, cornmeal, or sometimes just dandelion greens, to the amusement of some cruel schoolchildren. Malcolm and Philbert begin to hunt for rabbits and frogs, which they then sell to white... (full context)
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The family, and especially Louise, begins to deteriorate psychologically. Malcolm, fed up with being labeled a Welfare recipient, starts to become criminally deviant and steal... (full context)
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...welcoming religious organization, and she takes the family to their meetings out in the country. Malcolm thinks they are extremely friendly, even if a little eccentric. The main attraction, however, is... (full context)
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The Welfare people continue to come, looking to separate the family and to take Malcolm away in particular. As the pressures from running the home and dealing with the state... (full context)
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...responsibility for feeding eight stepchildren. After about a year, he finally walks away, a decision Malcolm understands. But he also understands his mother’s attempts to save the family any way possible. (full context)
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...lose control of her mental state, and the state agencies begins to seriously discuss sending Malcolm to live with the Gohannases, who have offered to take him in. He doesn’t want... (full context)
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Malcolm shares a room with Big Boy, and they get along well. The boys would go... (full context)
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Malcolm continues to visit home, where his mother is mentally deteriorating. Finally, Louise breaks down and... (full context)
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...be in that hospital for 27 years, and visiting her will cause emotional pain for Malcolm for years to come. He tries to talk with her, but she often doesn’t recognize... (full context)
Chapter 2: Mascot
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...He does well in his amateur fights, gaining the praise and respect of the community. Malcolm, seeing his brother’s success, decides he should give it a try, too. (full context)
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Malcolm’s first fight is against Bill Peterson, a white boy. Bill is so scared of Malcolm... (full context)
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One day, while being punished for wearing a hat to class, Malcolm places a thumbtack on the teacher’s chair, resulting in his expulsion from school. He isn’t... (full context)
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Mr. Maynard Allen, a nice man from the Welfare Agency, accompanies Malcolm to the detention home and gives him advice on how to further himself. Mr. and... (full context)
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His good behavior gets the Swerlins’ approval, and they like Malcolm. At the same time, however, they seem to like him as a “mascot” or a... (full context)
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Malcolm goes to Lansing often to visit his siblings. While his brothers want to go out... (full context)
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Malcolm keeps waiting to be sent to reform school, but Mrs. Swerlin keeps pulling strings to... (full context)
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Mrs. Swerlin helps Malcolm to get his first job washing dishes in a local restaurant so that he can... (full context)
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Malcolm joins the basketball team at his middle school. He experiences some prejudice in the way... (full context)
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Some of the white boys Malcolm’s age try and push him to “go for” some of the other white girls. If... (full context)
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On the other hand, Malcolm has seen plenty of race-mixing in Lansing. Late at night, white men would pick up... (full context)
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Things continue to go well for Malcolm. One day, his class takes a vote, and they declare him class president. Malcolm is... (full context)
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Malcolm manages to visit his siblings in Lansing nearly every weekend. Hilda and Wilfred still live... (full context)
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One day Ella, Malcolm’s half-sister, writes to the family and decides to come from Boston to visit. A strong,... (full context)
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In 1940, Malcolm catches a Greyhound bus while wearing his green suit. He’s headed to Boston, where he’ll... (full context)
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After his time in Roxbury, something changes in Malcolm. Upon returning to Mason, he discovers that he is no longer comfortable there, where he... (full context)
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Nonetheless, Malcolm stays on top of his studies and is at the top of the class. One... (full context)
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Malcolm’s ensuing unease is perceived by others as a form of rebellion or acting out. Mrs.... (full context)
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Finally, Malcolm decides it’s time to get out of Mason, and he writes to Ella. She helps... (full context)
Chapter 3: “Homeboy”
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Malcolm arrives in Roxbury in his mint green, high-water suit, completely out of fashion and clearly... (full context)
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Ella is an extremely accommodating host. She fixes Malcolm a room and feeds him heaps of delicious food, which he thoroughly enjoys. She has... (full context)
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On Ella’s advice, Malcolm sets out to explore and get to know Boston. He first walks around her neighborhood,... (full context)
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...they are just working as janitors or bootblacks in professional, white offices – a self-delusion Malcolm cannot stand. (full context)
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Malcolm then starts to venture into the rest of Boston. He sees historical monuments, Boston University... (full context)
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Once his sightseeing time is over, Malcolm starts to spend more and more time in the “ghetto” part of Roxbury, attracted by... (full context)
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Malcolm is entranced by all the cool cats who stand around in their fancy suits and... (full context)
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Deciding it’s time to get a job (a.k.a a “slave”), Malcolm goes into a poolroom to talk to someone he’s heard of called Shorty. The two... (full context)
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Shorty talks about himself, as well. He shows Malcolm his saxophone and tells him that he “plays the numbers” (the lottery) every day, hoping... (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... (full context)
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Malcolm arrives at the ballroom, asking for the shoe shine boy, whose name is Freddie. After... (full context)
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...Freddie lays out the tools of the trade on his stand, and begins to show Malcolm how it’s done. He also teaches Malcolm his first real “hustle”: if Malcolm runs to... (full context)
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In between practicing on Freddie’s shoes, Malcolm goes off to watch the dancing. He is enchanted by all of the white patrons,... (full context)
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After cleaning up the ballroom and while driving Malcolm home, Freddie clues him in on the main “hustles” for a shoe shine boy. He... (full context)
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After a few weeks, Malcolm runs into Freddie downtown, and they laugh together. Malcolm has come to realize that the... (full context)
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...of the musicians come to have their shoes shined, including Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Malcolm recounts the time Johnny Hodges forgot to pay him. (full context)
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...dancers stay on the floor to compete. With the lights shining and the hall rocking, Malcolm feels electrified. (full context)
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Around this time, Malcolm starts to hang out socially with Shorty and his friends, where they play craps, drink,... (full context)
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At a local neighborhood store and on Shorty’s recommendation, Malcolm gets measured for a sky blue zoot suit that he buys on credit (a practice... (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 the times and his... (full context)
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Finally, Malcolm’s hair is long enough to be conked for the first time. He and Shorty go... (full context)
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At first the chemicals just feel warm, but then Malcolm begins to feel like his head is on fire. After withstanding as long as he... (full context)
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Malcolm is in love with his new hair and vows to never go without a conk... (full context)
Chapter 4: Laura
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...spending time going to parties and hanging out with the “hipsters” and the “cool cats,” Malcolm has learned to talk and to dress like them. He’s also learned to drink and... (full context)
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When the time comes for another dance for black people at Roseland’s, Malcolm quits his job so that he can join the others on the dance floor. Ella... (full context)
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Once on the dance floor, Malcolm starts grabbing partners from every direction, pulling girls out to dance with him. Everyone can... (full context)
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Ella, thrilled that Malcolm no longer shines shoes, finds him a job as a soda fountain clerk in a... (full context)
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One day, Malcolm “hits the numbers” and wins sixty dollars. He almost decides to quit the drugstore’s soda... (full context)
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...After seeing her for weeks and weeks, always reading a book and acting very friendly, Malcolm decides she’s different from the others on the Hill. One day, Malcolm strikes up a... (full context)
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Malcolm enjoys talking with Laura, and he admires that she wants to go to college. Her... (full context)
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Malcolm keeps Laura away from Shorty, and keeps Shorty away from Laura, thinking that because they... (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... (full context)
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Laura is filled with excitement about the lindy-hop. She and Malcolm share a taxi and then go inside the ballroom, where Malcolm greets everyone in the... (full context)
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Years later, Malcolm says, his friend Sammy the Pimp tells him that if he looks closely at a... (full context)
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...time for the “Showtime!” competition, the dancers on the floor start to thin out, and Malcolm is approached by a lindy-hopper with a reputation of being high-energy and hard to keep... (full context)
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One day Laura comes into the drugstore, wild with excitement and asking Malcolm to take her to see Duke Ellington. Malcolm agrees, and goes to her house to... (full context)
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After the warmup rounds of dancing, Laura tells Malcolm she wants to compete. While he is skeptical about her ability to maintain her energy,... (full context)
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As people in the crowd are congratulating Laura, Malcolm catches the eye of a beautiful, tall, blonde woman named Sophia. As dating white women... (full context)
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When Malcolm returns, Sophia is waiting for him outside. She drives them in her convertible to a... (full context)
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Laura never comes back to the drugstore after this. When Malcolm sees her again, years later, she has abandoned her plans for college and fallen into... (full context)
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Ella soon finds out about Sophia and makes her disapproval very clear. Malcolm then moves in with Shorty on Sophia’s dime and finds a new job as a... (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 shortage.... (full context)
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Lying about his age and declaring himself 21, Malcolm instantly gets the job. They take him on as a dishwasher, but before working the... (full context)
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After several trips to D.C., Malcolm jumps at the chance to join the “Yankee Clipper” route, working as the sandwich man.... (full context)
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Later, Malcolm continues his tour of Harlem, heading first to the Apollo Theater and then to the... (full context)
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...streets working every single man they see, while the hustlers try to sell their merchandise. Malcolm says that in a few years, he could give any of these hustlers a lesson,... (full context)
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Malcolm heads back to Boston, his head spinning. He tries to convince Shorty to try and... (full context)
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Malcolm works hard at his sandwich job, putting on a show for the passengers, which virtually... (full context)
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Malcolm stays in Harlem for one day between journeys; he first takes a room at the... (full context)
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Malcolm quickly becomes a regular at Small’s and the Braddock bar, where the bartenders pour him... (full context)
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Malcolm’s record sales of sandwiches ensure that he keeps his job over the man he replaced;... (full context)
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Malcolm remembers one large, white, drunk serviceman who had been offended and declared that he was... (full context)
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At this time Malcolm is living a very fast life, and his coworkers say he is out of control.... (full context)
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Now that he is free of employment, Malcolm decides it would be a good time to visit his siblings in Michigan. He sees... (full context)
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Malcolm then pays several house calls in Lansing. He first goes to see his mother Louise,... (full context)
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Before leaving Lansing, Malcolm goes to a school dance, where he shows off all his best moves. He stuns... (full context)
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With no employment, Malcolm goes to work for another railroad, the Seaboard Line, who need a man for their... (full context)
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Back in New York, one of the bartenders at Small’s tells Malcolm that a job as a day waiter is about to open up. With a railroad... (full context)
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For Malcolm, working at Small’s, which is the center of life in Harlem, is “Seventh Heaven seven... (full context)
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In fact, the customers begin to teach Malcolm about Harlem as they eat. Harlem had been home to many groups of immigrants throughout... (full context)
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Malcolm loves to hear the old timers talk about these bygone days, taking in everything they... (full context)
Chapter 6: Detroit Red
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While working at Small’s, Malcolm sometimes waits on people who have just hit the numbers and are coming in to... (full context)
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At Small’s, many of the old hustlers take a liking to Malcolm and do their best to teach him their ways and “straighten him out.” One, for... (full context)
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Malcolm’s coworkers and customers also start to identify the plainclothes police officers to him, an essential... (full context)
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...and services, but they are mostly treated curtly. The first rule of hustling, according to Malcolm, is to never trust anyone outside of your closest circle. (full context)
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The bartenders pick out to Malcolm the customers who are “fronts,” (who merely pretend to have connections), the ones really involved... (full context)
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Malcolm befriends some of the pimps who come through Small’s as well. “Cadillac” Drake, a large,... (full context)
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...cry rape. After high school, she moved straight to Harlem and went into Sammy’s employ. Malcolm, looking back, says he has frequently wondered what became of her. (full context)
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...other regulars buy him dinner and drinks every night while they listen to his tales. Malcolm has reflected many times in life on the significance of that kindness, and how it... (full context)
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Another regular is “Jumpsteady,” who specializes in burglary by entering through white people’s windows. Later, Malcolm will learn that he kept his nerves in check by getting high before his jobs.... (full context)
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Malcolm’s first room in Harlem is on the 800 block of St. Nicholas Avenue, where most... (full context)
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...is a rush of men coming in before work, and then all rushing out again. Malcolm blames this behavior on overly controlling wives who have made their husband’s home lives unbearable.... (full context)
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...Sophia visits from Boston, and her looks and whiteness once again turn heads and increase Malcolm’s status in the bars. In particular, the musicians at the Braddock bar make a big... (full context)
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...Nevertheless, this white boy still makes a nasty comment to Sophia about her being with Malcolm, and Malcolm learns how deep racial hypocrisy can run. (full context)
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Malcolm becomes good friends with Creole Bill, who runs a late-night speakeasy in his apartment. Malcolm... (full context)
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Sophia has recently married a white serviceman, but wants to maintain her relationship with Malcolm, who agrees. Sammy and Malcolm had discussed mixed-race couples before, and Sammy told him that... (full context)
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In early 1943, Malcolm (by now known as “Detroit Red”) observes a soldier looking lonely and sad at Small’s;... (full context)
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Sammy ends up taking in Malcolm in his time of need, helping him to plan his next move. They decide that... (full context)
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After an initial loan from Sammy, Malcolm starts to immediately turn a profit, selling mostly to his musician friends. With some money... (full context)
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With no obligations, Malcolm makes a trip to Boston. He visits with Ella, who still doesn’t approve of his... (full context)
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Malcolm recounts the story of how Sammy the Pimp became a pimp. After leaving Kentucky, he... (full context)
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Malcolm quickly catches the notice of the narcotics squad, but he finds a method to avoid... (full context)
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Even with all his precaution, word gets out that the narcotics squad has labeled Malcolm a top priority. After he finds his room searched, he moves out and starts to... (full context)
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With business at a crawl, Sammy advises Malcolm to use his railroad I.D. card to travel through New England, selling reefers to the... (full context)
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One day after Malcolm comes back from a trip, Reginald is waiting for him at Sammy’s apartment. They get... (full context)
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Reginald fills Malcolm in on the family. Wilfred is an instructor at a trade school, and Hilda and... (full context)
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One day, Malcolm receives a draft notification; he is to appear in front of the draft board in... (full context)
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The day of the draft board, Malcolm shows up wearing a brand new, outlandish zoot suit, and puts on his most over-the-top... (full context)
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After his medical examination, Malcolm is led to the Army psychiatrist’s office. A young black woman is the secretary, and... (full context)
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Upon entering the psychiatrist’s office, Malcolm starts to pull him in, not wanting to seem to be obviously faking his insanity.... (full context)
Chapter 7: Hustler
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One day, Malcolm is playing blackjack with the other black railroad men in a locker room at Grand... (full context)
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Back in Harlem, the narcotics squad knows Malcolm too well for him to keep selling reefers. With no other skills, he has to... (full context)
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Once, Malcolm and Sammy are nearly caught. As they are running away, they hear sirens behind them.... (full context)
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Malcolm disciplines himself to not perform more “jobs” than necessary; he only goes when he is... (full context)
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...one day, and this time, he decides to stay. He has fallen in love with Malcolm’s musician friends and their world. Malcolm introduces him to everyone, such as Billie Holiday, who... (full context)
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Wanting to provide Reginald with a stable home, Malcolm starts to rent an apartment for $100 a month. At nighttime, Malcolm “schools” Reginald on... (full context)
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Malcolm gets Reginald a hustle that will make him money but be risk-free—he gets him a... (full context)
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Malcolm assumes that Reginald, like most black men at the time, will be interested in white... (full context)
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Nowadays (in the early 1960s), Malcolm says, Harlem’s night life scene is gone, including the scene for black people. Black people... (full context)
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...parts of the Harlem underground, and the hustlers and prostitutes are all getting day jobs. Malcolm and Sammy start to pull more dangerous robberies together. One day they are caught mid-act,... (full context)
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Malcolm enters the numbers business on his reputation as a good hustler. His new boss and... (full context)
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Now that he’s in the racket, Malcolm decides to start placing his bets with West Indian Archie, who works for the same... (full context)
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Malcolm meets a Brothel Madam who recruits Malcolm to help her outsource certain sexual requests that... (full context)
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Another of Malcolm’s acquaintances is a white lesbian woman who runs a “stable” of black men for white... (full context)
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One morning, a bar in Harlem gets held up by a light-skinned black man, and Malcolm is considered a suspect. After he gets interrogated by some thugs looking for the robber,... (full context)
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Malcolm then starts working for Hymie, a specialist in renovating bars and restaurants and then selling... (full context)
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...skinned black man holds up an Italian mobsters’ craps game, once again bringing suspicion on Malcolm. Unarmed, he is confronted by two Italians, when all of a sudden a cop walks... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Malcolm has just hit his number on a small bet and is going to meet his... (full context)
Chapter 8: Trapped
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West Indian Archie shows up at Sammy’s apartment, carrying a gun and demanding that Malcolm give him back the three hundred dollars from his hit. Archie claims that Malcolm didn’t... (full context)
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...easily. Rather, West Indian Archie has made it about each other’s reputation. He can’t let Malcolm get away with appearing to have tricked him, and Malcolm can’t allow himself to appear... (full context)
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Malcolm nevertheless goes out with Jean Parks to listen to Billie Holliday sing at the Onyx... (full context)
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From there, Jean and Malcolm go to the La-Marr-Cheri, one of his regular hangouts. As he is very high on... (full context)
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At this point, Malcolm decides the best course of action is to get unbelievably high. He first smokes some... (full context)
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After a slight scuffle in a bar one day, Malcolm can sense the police coming. He gives his gun away just in time, as the... (full context)
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Sammy calls Shorty in Boston and asks him to come get Malcolm, as he needs to get out of town. Shorty arrives, and Malcolm gratefully packs up... (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 outlook. Shorty, likewise, is a... (full context)
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Sophia’s husband works now as a traveling salesman, giving her more ability to come see Malcolm. Malcolm has always exploited Sophia for money, but she’s never complained about it. He also... (full context)
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Malcolm notes again Shorty’s love for white women, and he goes crazy for Sophia’s younger sister,... (full context)
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Malcolm decides to begin a new hustle, but first he needs funds. So he takes what... (full context)
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John Hughes requires his guests to check their guns at the door. Malcolm usually checks two guns—but one day, when another gambler tries to cheat, Malcolm pulls a... (full context)
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...comes to visit in Roxbury, after having returned to Harlem and discovering all the mess Malcolm left behind. As always, Malcolm is very happy to see his closest brother. Malcolm also... (full context)
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While he could take up gambling as a regular hustle, Malcolm wants to do something that will allow him to make enough money to support Shorty... (full context)
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...to his bed, and then sprinkle him in talcum powder, causing him to orgasm. Naturally, Malcolm and Rudy swap stories about the things they’ve seen. (full context)
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Having learned from the best, Malcolm insists that the group take their time and carefully plan their jobs. He insists they... (full context)
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...pose as saleswomen or college students, and they’ll look around the home once invited inside. Malcolm, Rudy, and Shorty will handle the actual burglaries, with two inside and one waiting in... (full context)
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In order to establish himself as the boss of the crew, Malcolm puts on a show for the others. He removes the bullets from his revolver, then... (full context)
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...freely shown into people’s houses. The families are often home when the burglars enter, but Malcolm assures the reader that it is much simpler than it sounds. And while they are... (full context)
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...getaway one night, and a police car flashes behind them. As he did once before, Malcolm gets out and asks for directions to Roxbury, and the police give him directions and... (full context)
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Everything is going well for the crew. Sophia and Sophia’s sister still go with Malcolm to see Shorty and his shows, and then they all smoke reefers back at Malcolm... (full context)
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Malcolm spends a lot of his time before and after jobs in the Savoy club, so... (full context)
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Malcolm begins to use drugs with so much frequency and quantity that it starts to cloud... (full context)
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Later that night, the friend shows up at their Harvard Square hideout, and Malcolm hides under the bed as he comes in. The man finds Malcolm, and they talk... (full context)
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Two days later, Malcolm goes to pick up a stolen watch he had taken for a repair. As the... (full context)
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If the cops hadn’t picked Malcolm up for the watch, then he may have died that day. While he was being... (full context)
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The girls were soon picked up after the cops got Malcolm’s address from some of his papers, and Shorty was then arrested while performing. They tried... (full context)
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...and Sophia’s sister, two well-to-do white women, were sexually involved with two black men. Even Malcolm’s own court-appointed lawyers were outraged by this. (full context)
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Malcolm addresses the reader, saying that he has not shared these details of his life to... (full context)
Chapter 10: Satan
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...Sophia and Sophia’s sister are given one to five years. At the age of twenty-one, Malcolm is sentenced to ten years in prison. (full context)
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Malcolm reflects that he no longer remembers his prison number. This surprises him, as it was... (full context)
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Malcolm’s time at Charlestown State Prison starts terribly. The prison is old and the cells are... (full context)
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Malcolm doesn’t remember much of his first year in prison. He spends most of his time... (full context)
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The first person to make an impression on Malcolm is Bimbi, and old burglar who commands tremendous respect in the prison through his public... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Malcolm begins a new circle of hustles. He first wins packs of cigarettes through dominoes games,... (full context)
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In 1948, Malcolm has been transferred to Concord Prison, when Philbert writes to him about a new religion... (full context)
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Ella has been working to get Malcolm transferred to the Norfolk Prison Colony, and she succeeds in late 1948. Upon arriving, Malcolm... (full context)
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...to Philbert, his siblings (all new converts) have decided to send Reginald to talk with Malcolm. Reginald comes to see Malcolm, looking very well-groomed and discussing the family. Malcolm, meanwhile, is... (full context)
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...all this, then gestures to the white guards, saying, “The white man is the devil.” Malcolm mentions their old friend Hymie, but Reginald counters that Hymie only ever used Malcolm to... (full context)
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After Reginald leaves, Malcolm thinks through every white person he’s ever known: the state welfare people, the judges, Mr.... (full context)
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To test Reginald’s statement about Masons, Malcolm approaches a Mason in the prison. He draws him a circle and asks how many... (full context)
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Reginald comes to visit again, and he finds a very attentive Malcolm waiting for him. Reginald then talks to him for two hours about how black men... (full context)
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After this Malcolm begins to receive letters from all his siblings—they have all converted to the Nation of... (full context)
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Malcolm’s knowledge of the truth—as maintained by the Nation of Islam—comes to him slowly. He learns... (full context)
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Looking back on his reception of all this knowledge, Malcolm believes that his very sinful previous life actually prepared him for such a full conversion... (full context)
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But before that reckoning moment comes, Malcolm first spends weeks in contemplation, hardly eating. The other prisoners, the guards, and the prison... (full context)
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Malcolm’s siblings gather their funds to send his older sister Hilda to come and visit him.... (full context)
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While this tale stuns Malcolm and he is speechless as Hilda leaves, later in life he will disavow this story... (full context)
Chapter 11: Saved
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After many drafts and attempts to express himself, Malcolm manages to write a short letter to Elijah Muhammad. He receives a very gracious typed... (full context)
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The hardest thing Malcolm ever has to do in his life is to repent and submit himself to Allah,... (full context)
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Almost instantly, Malcolm’s old life falls away, and he dives head first into his new faith. He writes... (full context)
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Malcolm grows increasingly frustrated that he cannot express himself more articulately and can only construct his... (full context)
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...new world of knowledge opens to him in the books he reads. From then on, Malcolm spends nearly all of his time reading or else writing his letters and dictionary entries,... (full context)
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Elijah Muhammad’s teachings about the “whitening” of history really struck a chord with Malcolm and thousands of other black people who could remember there being no mention of black... (full context)
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Malcolm is particularly horrified by the history of slavery and the atrocities done to black people.... (full context)
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Other authors such as Herodotus, Will Durant, and Mahatma Gandhi teach Malcolm about the horrors of colonialism and empire that have been perpetrated for millennia by white... (full context)
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In assessing the damage done by white men throughout the world, Malcolm concludes that now (in the early 1960s) the ex-colonial nations are joining in alliances together... (full context)
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Malcolm’s studying is always aimed at helping him to better understand the oppression of black men... (full context)
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In at least one way, Malcolm appreciates the time he spent in prison. Where else, he asks, would he have the... (full context)
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Malcolm’s philosophical readings include Kant, Nietzsche, and Schopenhauer, whom he sees as mostly debating useless issues,... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Malcolm points to the discoveries that are being made in modern-day archeological digs in Africa, discovering... (full context)
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...much time studying and learning about how ignorant he had been made of black history, Malcolm sets about teaching his fellow prisoners this history. He tries to go slowly, as people... (full context)
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If one of his pupils seems to be wavering and about to report Malcolm to the guards, he tells them, “The white man is the devil,” which shocks them... (full context)
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Malcolm also begins to debate with the other well-read prisoners in weekly public debates. Once he... (full context)
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When Reginald comes to visit Malcolm, Malcolm tries to share some of his studying and learning with his brother. But Reginald... (full context)
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The night after he mails the letter, while praying vigorously, Malcolm receives a vision of a man sitting in his cell with him, a brown-skinned man... (full context)
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Elijah responds to Malcolm’s letter, asking why he does not trust in the truth. He knows his brother’s conduct... (full context)
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Reginald continues to visit him, but Malcolm pays little heed to his conversation. Reginald’s appearance grows shabbier, and he goes back to... (full context)
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...Prophet, or how he is greater than Allah. Eventually he is institutionalized. In later years, Malcolm no longer sees this as divine retribution, but the result of his entire family turning... (full context)
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Malcolm then returns to the subject of his mysterious visitor. He believes that he had a... (full context)
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After Malcolm has spent so much time spreading the word of Islam, the authorities at Norfolk grow... (full context)
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Malcolm acknowledges that the young seminary student from Harvard leading the class really knows his Bible.... (full context)
Chapter 12: Savior
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In the spring of 1952, Malcolm is informed that he has been recommended for parole. Hilda and Wilfred insist that he... (full context)
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...(who also believes he should go to Detroit, but does not share his religious beliefs), Malcolm goes out to buy three things: a pair of eyeglasses, a suitcase, and a watch.... (full context)
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After arriving in Detroit by bus, Malcolm goes to work at the furniture store. But he is utterly ashamed at how overpriced... (full context)
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Wilfred invites Malcolm to move in with him, an offer Malcolm gratefully accepts. Wilfred and his family teach... (full context)
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Malcolm goes to Temple with Wilfred’s family on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and he is amazed... (full context)
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Malcolm, rapt with attention at the sermon given by the minister, is also enflamed by the... (full context)
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“With an eagerness never since duplicated,” Malcolm anxiously awaits their Temple’s caravan trip to Chicago, where they will go to hear Elijah... (full context)
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...to keep him oppressed, but through learning, hi will rise up. Then Elijah calls upon Malcolm by name, asking him to stand and telling the crowd of Malcolm’s daily letters and... (full context)
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Malcolm assures us that he has indeed been faithful to his faith ever since, and he... (full context)
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After the meeting, Mr. Muhammad invites Malcolm’s entire family to come to his house for dinner, and he is a very gracious... (full context)
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Malcolm, with Minister Lemuel Hassan’s blessing, immediately goes to work back in Detroit, “fishing” in the... (full context)
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...young ministers to spread his word farther and faster than its current pace. Shortly thereafter, Malcolm’s Temple minister asks him to address the congregation, and then to give a lecture. Nervous... (full context)
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Malcolm, after days spent “fishing” for converts with no success, would dream of what he would... (full context)
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...job at the Gar Wood factory (manufacturing garbage trucks), the F.B.I. comes in and ask Malcolm to come to their office. After asking why he hasn’t registered for the draft, he... (full context)
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Malcolm, overcome with enthusiasm and vigor, always loses his voice after addressing the Detroit Temple. He... (full context)
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Malcolm loves to travel to Chicago, where he hears Mr. Muhammad speak and stays at his... (full context)
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Back at the house, Mother Marie tells Malcolm all about her son’s childhood. She once had a vision that Elijah would become a... (full context)
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Malcolm, looking back, reflects on how many times he gave speeches detailing this history without any... (full context)
Chapter 13: Minister Malcolm X
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After realizing that Elijah Muhammad needs more help in spreading the faith, Malcolm quits his job at Ford and goes to Chicago, where he moves in with Elijah... (full context)
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Once Elijah feels that Malcolm is ready, he sends him to Boston to work with Brother Lloyd X. Small gatherings... (full context)
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After three months of preaching and receiving larger and larger crowds, Malcolm finally has a following large enough to justify renting a small space and folding chairs... (full context)
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Malcolm’s sister Ella starts to come around and hear him preach, listening in the back but... (full context)
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Malcolm hasn’t been back in Roxbury for seven years, and decides to have a reunion with... (full context)
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By March 1954, the Temple is a healthy size and Malcolm heads for Philadelphia. There, the locals take to Islam very quickly and by May, Temple... (full context)
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Malcolm heads to Harlem in search of Sammy the Pimp and West Indian Archie. He quickly... (full context)
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Malcolm talks with a lot of the old hustlers, looking for West Indian Archie, but nobody... (full context)
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Malcolm finally receives word that West Indian Archie is sick, and living up in the Bronx.... (full context)
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When Malcolm arrives at the New York Temple, it is just a small storefront room—and they can’t... (full context)
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Malcolm sees these Christians as his best targets for conversion, as they are often the poorest... (full context)
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Unfortunately for Malcolm, while many respond to his preaching, only a few will commit to following Elijah Muhammad... (full context)
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The temple continues to grow, but too slowly for Malcolm. He stays busy by traveling to other cities to preach. He goes to Philadelphia on... (full context)
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Malcolm’s enthusiasm brings him frequent chastisement from Elijah Muhammad on his visits to Chicago. Malcolm often... (full context)
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In 1955, Elijah sends Malcolm on his first long-distance trip to Atlanta, Georgia, where he helps Brother James X to... (full context)
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Malcolm uses this as an opportunity to explain Muslim attitudes towards funerals and death, reading passages... (full context)
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...The congregations are certainly larger than most of America was aware of at the time. Malcolm, meanwhile, is working very hard and sleeping very little to continuously try and meet the... (full context)
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Malcolm tries to avoid any personal relationships with the Muslim sisters, much to the annoyance of... (full context)
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In 1956, a new sister joins Temple Seven. It’s Sister Betty, a native of Detroit. Malcolm has no intentions towards her, and they never speak; in his words, he just “notices... (full context)
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Shortly thereafter, Malcolm hears from another sister that Sister Betty’s parents have threatened to stop funding her nursing... (full context)
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After then being shocked at his own desires, Malcolm decides to confront the possibility directly. He tells Elijah he is thinking of marriage—and Elijah... (full context)
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On his way to see his brother Wilfred in Detroit, Malcolm suddenly pulls off to the side of the road, calls Sister Betty from a payphone,... (full context)
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...the marriage announcement before the whole Temple, shocking many sisters who had shown interest in Malcolm. Then, back in New York, they really shock everyone. Even some of the brothers, who... (full context)
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Malcolm and Betty then move in to Queens, where they share a home with another brother... (full context)
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Malcolm, with hesitation, says that he now loves Betty. Even more importantly, she is one of... (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... (full context)
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Malcolm enters the station, informing the police that the Muslims will not leave until they have... (full context)
Chapter 14: Black Muslims
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Two different groups approach Malcolm about projects on the Nation of Islam. Louis Lomax, a black journalist, proposes a documentary... (full context)
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Malcolm and Elijah Muhammad have both written columns for the Amsterdam News—the Harlem newspaper—but Malcolm wants... (full context)
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At this time, Malcolm travels as Elijah Muhammad’s representative to many nations, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Nigeria,... (full context)
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...American public, there is instant negative outcry against the Muslim community, especially in New York (Malcolm predominately blames the title for the negative reaction). Over time, the press reactions to the... (full context)
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Malcolm spends hours a day on the phone talking to the press, all of whom are... (full context)
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Malcolm defends the Nation’s preaching as aimed at uplifting black people and raising their self-worth. He... (full context)
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Utilizing his knowledge of history, Malcolm defends Elijah against claims of being a “demagogue” by explaining that a demagogue means “teacher... (full context)
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While Malcolm mostly does battle with the press, his personal anger is reserved for the black leaders... (full context)
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Malcolm attacks these black leaders as “Uncle Toms” and as “Black bodies with white heads.” He... (full context)
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Soon, the radio and television stations start asking Malcolm to come on and debate with both white and black scholars to defend Elijah Muhammad... (full context)
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Malcolm begins his appearances by introducing himself as a way to control the tone and the... (full context)
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Malcolm repeatedly assures the reader that while he went on television and radio, even if he... (full context)
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...in America comes out, and the press immediately seize on the phrase “Black Muslims,” despite Malcolm’s attempts over the next two years to kill its usage. (full context)
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...(many of whom had attacked the Nation). Another section is accessible only to black journalists; Malcolm credits the Nation with jumpstarting the careers of many black journalists. (full context)
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...old ministers alike greet each other, and a generally festive atmosphere surrounds the event. For Malcolm, seeing these ministers from so many Temples that he personally helped found or organize gives... (full context)
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Malcolm goes up to the microphone to warm up the crowd for Elijah, addressing them as... (full context)
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Then, as Malcolm continues to speak, Elijah Muhammad begins to approach the stage through the center aisle. A... (full context)
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...They only accept donations from black people in order to maintain their intellectual independence. As Malcolm explains this, the collection plates go around and soon fill up. (full context)
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...who come are generally students and scholars, eager to learn about the “Black Muslims.” Meanwhile, Malcolm also keeps a close eye on the visiting black leaders in attendance; in their faces,... (full context)
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...about them. One of their authorities’ concerns is the increasing number of prisoners who, like Malcolm, convert to Islam while in prison. (full context)
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Malcolm also claims that the Nation had a very good track record at getting people to... (full context)
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Thanks to Malcolm’s hard work and fundraising throughout the Nation, Elijah’s eight children all become full-time employees of... (full context)
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...only increase. As a consequence, Elijah is forced to transfer more responsibility and independence to Malcolm regarding his public appearances, a burden Malcolm humbly takes on. Elijah urges Malcolm to become... (full context)
Chapter 15: Icarus
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As Malcolm continues to speak for the Nation of Islam, he receives more and more mail, overwhelmingly... (full context)
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One of Malcolm’s brothers from the mosque gets ahold of a confidential sociological report on the “Black Muslims”... (full context)
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The white man, Malcolm says, is extremely clever and good at getting his enemies to work against each other... (full context)
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The year is 1963, and Malcolm is continuously dealing with the press, who frequently turn his statements inside out so that... (full context)
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Malcolm states publicly that he feels the Northern Freedom Riders efforts in the South to be... (full context)
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Malcolm sees “integration” as a concept that doesn’t really mean anything. While a small number of... (full context)
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Until World War II, Malcolm says, there was virtually no honest dialogue between the black and white communities. That’s why... (full context)
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Malcolm believes that an uprising against Western countries and the governments they control is happening worldwide... (full context)
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Instead of trying to integrate, Malcolm wants the black community to focus on pulling itself up. Through the creation of locally... (full context)
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The only real integration, Malcolm says, would be intermarriage, an idea that he opposes. With so much racism in the... (full context)
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Another example of shallow integration politics is what Malcolm calls the “Farce on Washington.” At the time a largely leaderless, young, and angry movement... (full context)
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A month before the March on Washington, The New York Times reports that Malcolm is the second most sought after speaker throughout the country’s universities. Many schools have made... (full context)
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Contentiously, Malcolm asserts that he can tell when a question is coming from a Jewish audience member... (full context)
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While some black people may defend society as good overall when in mixed company, Malcolm asserts that no black person has ever challenged his accusations against white society when it... (full context)
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Malcolm tells Elijah that these speaking tours allow more people, especially those in elite universities, to... (full context)
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While audiences are generally surprised to hear Malcolm talk about Jesus, he explains that he is one of the central Prophets of Islam,... (full context)
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Malcolm tells the story of a young white college student who came to him at the... (full context)
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When Malcolm is invited to speak at Harvard Law School, he suddenly realizes that he is near... (full context)
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Then the Greek myth of Icarus flashes through Malcolm’s mind. In the myth, Icarus’s father makes him artificial wings so they can fly away... (full context)
Chapter 16: Out
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...misses several major rallies and subsequently moves out to Phoenix. As Elijah needs to rest, Malcolm’s workload continues to increase, but he’s still very satisfied. After years of working to build... (full context)
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Privately, Malcolm has one regret, and that is that the Nation has gained a reputation as being... (full context)
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Ever since Malcolm has taken on a more public role in 1961, he has heard rumors that some... (full context)
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Outside of the Nation, it is said that Malcolm is becoming rich from his engagements. This is clearly not true to anyone who knows... (full context)
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The only fight Malcolm ever has with Betty is about his lack of foresight regarding money. While she believes... (full context)
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Malcolm receives a lot of credit publicly and privately from people who see him as the... (full context)
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Around 1962, Malcolm notices that he no longer appears in the “Muhammad Speaks” newspaper that he himself founded.... (full context)
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However, by 1963, Malcolm consciously starts to try and mitigate others’ jealous comments. He stops appointing new ministers from... (full context)
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Morality and specifically chastity have been major parts of Malcolm’s personal life and preaching since he joined the Nation. The Muslim’s strict moral code is... (full context)
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...faces paternity suits from two of his former secretaries, both of them in their twenties. Malcolm has heard rumors about Elijah’s infidelity since 1955, but he absolutely refused to pay them... (full context)
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Malcolm remembers how he had rejected his brother Reginald because he had been “isolated” from the... (full context)
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...Thankfully, the rumors spread more slowly to New York and the rest of the country. Malcolm begins having nightmares of the scandal this news will cause when it hits the major... (full context)
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Malcolm finally decides to act. He first flies to Chicago, where he meets with Wallace Muhammad,... (full context)
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From there, Malcolm seeks out three of Elijah’s former secretaries to hear the story directly from them. They... (full context)
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Feeling disloyal through his inaction, Malcolm decides to write a letter to Elijah, telling him about the rumors that have been... (full context)
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In April 1963, Malcolm flies to Phoenix to see Elijah. They embrace, and then Malcolm tells Elijah about the... (full context)
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In order to prepare for the moment when the rumors go public, Malcolm decides to tell six other ministers about them and about his planned teachings. However, this... (full context)
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...he grows more and more tired and feels more estranged from the Nation of Islam, Malcolm begins to have contact with a few white reporters. This is huge, as he hasn’t... (full context)
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...telling all ministers to make no public comment on the assassination. A few days later, Malcolm goes to an event to speak in Elijah’s place, and he delivers a prepared speech... (full context)
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Malcolm then flies out to see Elijah, where he feels that something bad is going to... (full context)
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The Chicago headquarters swiftly informs the press of Malcolm’s silencing, and they then put out the word to the Muslim community that he will... (full context)
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Under great psychological stress, Malcolm reaches out to his friend Cassius Clay, who invites him and his whole family to... (full context)
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Malcolm meets Cassius in 1962, when he comes into the Muslim restaurant in Detroit before Elijah... (full context)
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Cassius’s infectious and genuine personality really touches Malcolm, and he invites him to his home to meet his family, who all love him.... (full context)
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Back in 1963, Malcolm is at his wits’ end both emotionally and psychologically. He compares his sudden estrangement from... (full context)
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For one of the first times, Malcolm emphasizes how important Betty is to him. As a loving, supportive, and strong wife, she... (full context)
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Malcolm is still trying to convince himself that Elijah’s mistakes were actually divine prophecy, and therefore... (full context)
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Malcolm briefly returns with his family to New York, but he wants to support Cassius in... (full context)
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For Malcolm, Sonny Liston represents the class of wealthier black individuals who move to white neighborhoods and... (full context)
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The night of the fight comes, and Malcolm and Cassius stand at the back of the Convention Hall, watching Cassius’s younger brother in... (full context)
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Malcolm rather drily describes the fight as going “according to plan.” From his point of view,... (full context)
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That night, Cassius and a few friends come over to Malcolm’s motel. There, they simply talk while Cassius eats ice cream. After Cassius the “boyish king”... (full context)
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...A media uproar is created at the idea of a Muslim holding the heavyweight title. Malcolm sees this as ridiculous, especially when Floyd Patterson, another African American boxer, declares that he... (full context)
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An official at Mosque Seven orders one of his underlings to rig Malcolm’s car to explode. However, as the assistant is aware of how faithful Malcolm is to... (full context)
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Assessing his position, Malcolm recognizes that he has a huge microphone and that anything he says will be picked... (full context)
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Malcolm first became aware of this potential for violence at a rally in Harlem. Malcolm felt... (full context)
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Malcolm reflects that a lot of this anger has been caused by more or less forcing... (full context)
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Malcolm’s task seems clear. He knows that he already occupies a leadership position in the ghettos... (full context)
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According to Malcolm, the black population is mentally sick from accepting white culture as good, spiritually sick from... (full context)
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As Malcolm begins to gather a picture in his mind of his planned organization, he calls a... (full context)
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Malcolm calls a press conference and announces that he is starting a new mosque called Muslim... (full context)
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Malcolm continues to be aware that he is being followed and that the Muslim brothers intend... (full context)
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However, Malcolm does not feel prepared to start a new mosque without first preparing himself spiritually. He... (full context)
Chapter 17: Mecca
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...in his or her lifetime.” As the Nation of Islam is very different from what Malcolm calls “orthodox Islam,” he has generally been quite hostile when other Muslims suggested he make... (full context)
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Often, Arab Muslims urge Malcolm to talk with Dr. Mahmoud Youssef Shawarbi, a professor from Cairo and a well-respected scholar.... (full context)
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Malcolm also feels inspired by his sister Ella, who has freely broken with the Nation of... (full context)
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When applying for a visa, Malcolm is told that he will need approval from Dr. Shawarbi—a fact Malcolm takes as a... (full context)
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The beginning of Malcolm’s trip is marked by surprising instances of friendliness from strangers, like his two Muslim seatmates... (full context)
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Once he arrives in Cairo, Malcolm encounters people of all races in what is a festive and friendly atmosphere. He parts... (full context)
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On the plane, Malcolm sees people of all races, ready to make the Hajj together. He feels a profound... (full context)
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...and the airport officials. The airport resounds with the sound of chanting and praying as Malcolm’s group makes their way slowly towards customs. (full context)
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Malcolm is nervous, as he knows an American passport will raise questions. Sure enough, the customs... (full context)
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Feeling very alone, Malcolm is taken by a Mutawaf to a dormitory above the airport to await his hearing... (full context)
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One of the others in the room tries to talk with Malcolm, and Malcolm begins to teach him English. When Malcolm says “Muhammad Ali Clay,” the whole... (full context)
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When the Mutawaf from earlier returns, he takes Malcolm down to the mosque for morning prayer. Malcolm knows that before prayer come ablutions, but... (full context)
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Back in his dormitory, Malcolm is offered food and tea by many of his roommates, but he politely refuses. Partially... (full context)
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That evening after prayer, Malcolm suddenly gets a wave of inspiration and remembers that he has Omar Azzam’s phone number,... (full context)
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Malcolm is blown away by the hospitality shown to him by Omar, a civil engineer, and... (full context)
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Malcolm is then ushered into a car and brought to the Jedda Palace Hotel. Omar leaves... (full context)
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That morning, Malcolm reflects on the significance of Abd’s generosity. Here was a white-complexioned man with international influence... (full context)
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After writing in his notebook and praying multiple times to thank Allah for protecting him, Malcolm sleeps for several hours. When he receives a call from Omar informing him that he... (full context)
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At dinner, Malcolm is once again blown away by Abd’s hospitality and intelligence; he has a command of... (full context)
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The next morning, Malcolm goes before the judge of the Hajj Committee Court. The judge is very kind as... (full context)
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After having lunch at the Hotel and then once again sleeping, Malcolm is awoken by a call from the Saudi Prince Faisal’s office, saying that a car... (full context)
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...city filled with winding streets and thousands of pilgrims headed for the Great Mosque. There, Malcolm performs the ablutions with a Mutawaf, and then enters the mosque, which is being renovated... (full context)
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Over the next few days, Malcolm’s Mutawaf takes him through the other essential rituals of the Hajj journey. They drink from... (full context)
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Sitting with other Muslims who have also just finished the Hajj, Malcolm tells them about the contrast between the brotherhood he experienced here with the racism found... (full context)
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Malcolm writes a letter to his wife Betty, explaining that Allah has allowed him greater insight... (full context)
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Malcolm then writes more versions of essentially the same letter to his sister Ella, Dr. Shawarbi,... (full context)
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In his letter, Malcolm recounts what he’s experienced on the Hajj, and especially emphasizing the sense of communion and... (full context)
Chapter 18: El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz
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Prince Faisal has declared Malcolm an official guest of the state and loans him a car and a chauffeur to... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Malcolm has grown to be very comfortable with Arab culture, including eating and drinking from the... (full context)
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Never before has Malcolm felt as helpless as he did in the Middle East without any knowledge of Arabic.... (full context)
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Wherever he goes, Malcolm is asked about the system of racial discrimination in America. For his part, he never... (full context)
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In order to be effective leaders in the United States, Malcolm believes black people should first travel extensively in non-white parts of the world to form... (full context)
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After praying that it would happen, Malcolm is invited to have an audience with Prince Faisal. The prince strikes Malcolm as a... (full context)
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From Mecca, Malcolm flies to Beirut to address the faculty of the American University of Beirut. He receives... (full context)
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Arriving in Nigeria, Malcolm is invited to dinner by a professor whom he previously met in the United States.... (full context)
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At Ibadan University, Malcolm speaks about the need for a Pan-African movement that would unite African Americans and Africans... (full context)
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While in Nigeria, Malcolm speaks with Peace Corps members, makes radio and television appearances, and meets with local government... (full context)
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...intent on extracting its resources. These men smile and pretend to not be racist, yet Malcolm sees them as just as bad as the violent bigots in America. (full context)
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...living in Ghana, which includes figures such as Maya Angelou, who have been anxiously awaiting Malcolm’s arrival; they even created the “Malcolm X Committee” to organize his speaking schedule. At this... (full context)
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The local press, meanwhile, sees Malcolm as a hero in the fight for racial justice and has also been anticipating his... (full context)
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The Malcolm X Committee keeps Malcolm extremely busy with press conferences, dinners, and visits to Embassies, including... (full context)
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At the University of Ghana, Malcolm addresses a large crowd of both white and black people. He denounces the false manner... (full context)
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One night, Malcolm is invited to meet most of the top officials in Ghana’s government, where he is... (full context)
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Malcolm then meets with the president of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who had once studied... (full context)
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Malcolm addresses another group of students committed to continuing “Ghana’s intellectual revolution,” when an African American... (full context)
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The Chinese Ambassador holds a dinner in Malcolm’s honor, followed by a film screening. From there, he is taken to a lively party... (full context)
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Malcolm attends a luncheon hosted by the Nigerian High Commissioner the next day, who speaks to... (full context)
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Afterwards, Malcolm is taken by Shirley Graham Du Bois to see the home of her late husband,... (full context)
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As Malcolm prepares to leave Ghana, he runs into Cassius Clay, who has been in the country... (full context)
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The entire Malcolm X Committee meets Malcolm in the lobby and accompanies him to the airport. As they... (full context)
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Malcolm then travels quickly through Liberia, Dakar, Morocco, and finally to Algiers, Algeria. There, he talks... (full context)
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When Malcolm’s plane touches down at JFK Airport on May 21, 1964, he is met by the... (full context)
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The reporters then shift to asking Malcolm about his “Letter from Mecca.” He elaborates on how his thinking has been broadened to... (full context)
Chapter 19: 1965
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Malcolm’s new political strategy revolves around two main points: an international perspective on the struggle of... (full context)
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While in the Holy Land Malcolm had felt whole for the first time in his life, like he was truly standing... (full context)
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In short, Malcolm had come into his own as a thinker and felt ready to address African Americans’... (full context)
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Malcolm continues to try and clarify his position as not being against all white people but... (full context)
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Malcolm then quotes Martin Luther King, Jr. (without naming him) who spoke about how “our nation... (full context)
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According to Malcolm, Christianity may have been founded in the Middle East, but once it spread through Europe,... (full context)
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Now, Malcolm sees the decline of Christianity’s influence and its spiritual emptiness in America as signs of... (full context)
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After returning to America for a while, Malcolm again goes abroad for 18 weeks, in which he meets many foreign and religious leaders.... (full context)
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While abroad, Malcolm is well aware that he is being followed by a US intelligence agent. So one... (full context)
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Then, on a hunch, Malcolm guesses that the man is of Jewish heritage. He tells him that while Jews have... (full context)
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During Malcolm’s time abroad, the 1964 presidential election is in full swing, and reporters constantly ask him... (full context)
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Now conceiving of his movement as a Black Nationalist movement, Malcolm describes his continuing troubles with getting it off the ground. He has gravitated towards Black... (full context)
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The issue, Malcolm writes, is a human one, in which both whites and blacks must do what they... (full context)
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In regards to his new organization, Malcolm does not want to allow whites to join. On the one hand, they would be... (full context)
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The most important factor in ending oppression for Malcolm is a commitment to “humanism and moral responsibility.” Otherwise, the riots and unrest will simply... (full context)
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Since he was a boy and saw his father and uncles die by violence, Malcolm has always had a feeling that his life would end similarly. This does not trouble... (full context)
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Malcolm has poured his time into this book so that it might act as a testimony... (full context)
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Malcolm believes that in his early life, he fell as far as anyone can within American... (full context)
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As previously stated, Malcolm is aware of the death threats against him and regards every day as a borrowed... (full context)
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Malcolm acknowledges that he has enjoyed confronting white society while trying to spread the truth. When... (full context)
Epilogue: Alex Haley
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...of Islam, which is only for black people and is led by Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. While visiting the Muslim restaurant in Harlem, Alex proposes to Malcolm the idea of... (full context)
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Finally, Malcolm suggests Alex go to Chicago to ask permission from Elijah. Elijah talks primarily of being... (full context)
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Alex publishes his piece, entitled, “Mr. Muhammad Speaks”, and he is praised by Elijah and Malcolm for writing an objective piece, as promised. Malcolm then agrees to give Alex an interview... (full context)
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Malcolm has now begun to trust Alex as a viable outlet to mainstream news. Then, in... (full context)
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Malcolm is caught off guard by Alex’s proposal for an autobiography. After considering the proposal, he... (full context)
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The project begins very poorly. Malcolm often arrives visibly exhausted, and he is still unsure of Alex’s allegiances. He believes that... (full context)
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Just as Alex starts to lose hope, he realizes that Malcolm often scribbles random notes on scrap paper while speaking. Alex begins to bring Malcolm extra... (full context)
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The next time Malcolm comes, Alex asks him, on a hunch, about his mother, Louise. Malcolm is so exhausted... (full context)
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On one memorable night, Malcolm shows up and starts talking about his life as a young man. Suddenly, he jumps... (full context)
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Malcolm cheers up talking about his time in prison, as he would torment the guards by... (full context)
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Throughout their interviews, Malcolm continues to show skepticism that his autobiography will be printed faithfully, and he insists that... (full context)
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After a short trip out of town, Malcolm returns, proudly telling Alex that his questions about his mother Louise had pushed Malcolm to... (full context)
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Malcolm’s daily conflicts often bleed into his sessions with Alex. If something bad happens to the... (full context)
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Malcolm’s temper often leads to inflammatory statements in public. Once, he stirs a whole crowd against... (full context)
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In this time, both Alex and Malcolm get very little sleep, as they stay up late talking and then spend their days... (full context)
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Once while riding the train together from Philadelphia, Malcolm is approached by a porter who recognizes him from his train days. Malcolm acknowledges him... (full context)
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Alex’s position in the press allows him to see other people’s opinions of Malcolm, and then report these back to him. The White House Press Secretary obviously disdains him,... (full context)
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Eventually, Alex and Malcolm develop a truly friendly relationship. Malcolm opens up to Alex, and Alex finds him fascinating.... (full context)
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Alex observes that Malcolm has a growing respect for individual white people which gives testament to the fact that... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Malcolm has a list of black men who also greatly impress him. This list includes the... (full context)
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Alex observes that Malcolm is most at ease when he’s taking his daily walks through the side streets of... (full context)
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One day, Malcolm asks Alex if he has “heard anything” being said lately. Alex responds that he has... (full context)
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Shortly thereafter, Malcolm and Sister Betty fly to Florida to be with Cassius as he trains. This helps... (full context)
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...moves to upstate New York to work on his book. In his phone calls with Malcolm, he hears him critique Elijah Muhammad and speculate that he might not be reinstated to... (full context)
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...interview with Cassius for Playboy magazine, and Cassius says that he doesn’t want to discuss Malcolm, who has betrayed the Nation. Elijah Muhammad also apparently becomes very emotional and upset if... (full context)
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Malcolm returns to New York, clearly upset and believing his life to be in danger. He... (full context)
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Malcolm receives lots of secretive phone calls while he sits with Alex, and he tells him... (full context)
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Late in March, Malcolm sends Alex a note, letting him know about his imminent visit to Africa and to... (full context)
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One day, Alex sends Malcolm several chapters to review, and he is horrified at the amount of edits Malcolm has... (full context)
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Only once does Malcolm show regret for a portion of his life, and that’s regarding his brief relationship with... (full context)
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Malcolm soon calls another press conference to announce his new organization, the Organization of Afro-American Unity... (full context)
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...Americans see Martin Luther King as the most important leader for civil rights, which irks Malcolm. However, another article in the New York Times acknowledges that the urban poor regard Malcolm... (full context)
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While Malcolm travels abroad for an additional six weeks (which irks his OAAU staff), Alex sends him... (full context)
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Malcolm’s OAAU is struggling to get off the ground, especially as Malcolm begins to receive more... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Malcolm is besieged by a number of problems. His family is being evicted from the house... (full context)
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As the court battle over the house drags on, Malcolm begins to speak out against Elijah Muhammad publicly, something he had largely avoided since leaving... (full context)
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In December, Malcolm and Alex again meet up in New York City to go over the latest version... (full context)
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One day in January when Alex is between flights, Malcolm drives out to Kennedy airport to talk with him in his car. He tells Alex... (full context)
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One day while giving a television interview, Malcolm supports the idea of interracial marriage as simply a personal decision between one human being... (full context)
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On January 28th, Malcolm flies to Los Angeles to meet with two of the former secretaries suing Elijah. Throughout... (full context)
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In Chicago, Malcolm testifies in the Attorney General’s office regarding the investigation of the Nation of Islam. While... (full context)
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Malcolm returns to New York, calls Alex, and confesses to being completely exhausted. Nonetheless, he must... (full context)
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After Alabama, Malcolm flies on to France, but he is officially barred from ever entering the country. Irate,... (full context)
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On February 13, Malcolm returns home to New York. Then in the middle of the night, someone throws Molotov... (full context)
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On Thursday, February 18th, Malcolm has a good conversation with the photographer Gordon Parks. He talks about being glad to... (full context)
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On Saturday, Malcolm goes house hunting with Betty, and they find one they like, but they need $4,000... (full context)
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That night, Malcolm goes to stay at the New York Hilton Hotel. After several men ask the bellboys... (full context)
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...from this event, but two black reporters are allowed to enter “as citizens.” At 2:00, Malcolm arrives, and says to his assistants that he plans to talk about the need for... (full context)
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...including the Reverend Galamison, were supposed to come, but none of them show up, disheartening Malcolm. When an assistant suggests that brother Benjamin X speak in their stead, Malcolm snaps at... (full context)
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...side aisles or stood up from the front row). Then they proceed to fire on Malcolm; in total, he is hit by sixteen bullets or shotgun pellets. As the firing stops,... (full context)
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Malcolm is brought on a stretcher to the Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. He arrives at 3:15, and at... (full context)
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...of publication, many questions still remain about the assassination. Police claim that they repeatedly offered Malcolm protection, a claim that contradicts statements made by his associates. Allegedly, special agents were in... (full context)
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Malcolm is taken to the morgue, where a shotgun pellet to the heart is established as... (full context)
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Elijah puts out a statement on Monday, saying that Malcolm’s death was the result of his violence-centered preaching. Elijah’s house in Chicago is heavily patrolled... (full context)
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Malcolm’s body is supposed to go on view at the funeral home at 2:30 on Tuesday,... (full context)
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Malcolm’s followers struggle to find a church to hold the funeral. Many churches refuse either because... (full context)
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After Malcolm’s death, many major African American figures speak out about the loss his death means for... (full context)
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...Independent Political Action, calls for all businesses to close for two days in honor of Malcolm. However, the Uptown Chamber of Commerce meets and resists their calls and threats of picket... (full context)
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...the murder extensively and sometimes erroneously (or with a lot of bias in favor of Malcolm), much to the chagrin of the United States Information Agency Director, Carl Rowan. In other... (full context)
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...connection with the assassination. This causes tensions to rise considerably among all groups connected to Malcolm’s killing, particularly at the Black Muslim National Convention in Chicago. About three thousand Muslims gather... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Malcolm’s presence is heavily felt at the Convention. Wallace Muhammad, who had sided with Malcolm, is... (full context)
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...Ahmed Hassoun, a Sunni Muslim from Sudan who had come to New York to be Malcolm’s spiritual advisor and teach at the Muslim Mosque, Inc. The Sheik prepares Malcolm’s body according... (full context)
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Late that afternoon, Alex joins the public viewing line, waiting to see Malcolm. Policemen stand by keeping watch while members of the press chitchat over to the side.... (full context)
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...Kwame Nkrumah. Then another man stands up to give his remarks; he focuses on how Malcolm was a hero who died on the battlefield for Islam. Ossie Davis then stood back... (full context)
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After the services, which last about an hour, Sister Betty goes to see Malcolm one last time and suddenly bursts into tears, prompting many in the crowd to sob... (full context)
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Alex tells the reader that Malcolm asked him to be a writer, “not an interpreter,” and that he has tried hard... (full context)