Learning to Read Malcolm X

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In the book “Learning to Read,” Malcolm X describes his “homemade Education.” He started his homemade education because his ability to read and write was hampered, which frustrated him. He educated himself with a dictionary and began painstakingly copying every entry. He began remembering the words and what they meant. Over a period of time he finished copying out the whole dictionary. Malcolm regarded the dictionary as a miniature encyclopedia. As his word base broadened, he found that he could understand what he read. Malcolm read every free moment he had and he would stay up long nights reading until 3 or 4 in the morning. As Malcolm continued to read he gained an extensive interest in History books. He was astounded at the knowledge he obtained about the history of black civilizations throughout the world. However, his reading was not limited to history because he also read about genetics, philosophy, and religion. Malcolm possessed the ability to teach himself the English language when one knows how complex it is. His relentless efforts not only bettered his intelligence but also his education on topics such as history, genetics and philosophy.

In “Learning to read”, the tone of Malcolm X’s voice is proud. Malcolm started on the streets as a hustler but later taught himself how to read in which he educated himself on the history of black civilization. With all of the knowledge Malcolm gained from reading, he is proud to have proved Arnold Toynbee wrong. Toynbee stated that Africa was the only continent to produce no history. Malcolm however, states Africa did posses history; it simply was not recorded. “In 1857, some of the desperate people from India finally mutinied- and expecting the African Slave trade, nowhere in history recorded anymore unnecessary bestial and ruthless human carnage than the British suppression of the non-white Indian people.” Finally, Malcolm uses his education to boast and dignify his life. He flies around the world to speak...
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