Malcolm X, a True Self Made Man

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Alex Haley, the writer of Malcolm X's biography knew that to succeed in America, a person must be educated. Without education it is almost impossible to achieve the self made man ideology (SMMI). In Malcolm's case he achieved the SMMI without the help of a formal education. Malcolm X's use of self education, coupled with religious inspiration and guidance, led him to become one of the greatest civil rights activists in America. It quickly became apparent to Malcolm's family that white society would never give blacks fair treatment. Before Malcolm was out of grammar school, Malcolm's father had been murdered and his mother, who was left to take care of his eight siblings, was put in an insane asylum. This resulted in Malcolm moving to New York to live with his relatives. Malcolm initially was a very successful student. However when his 8th grade teacher informed him that "Niggers can't be lawyers," a profession he intended to peruse, his educational inspiration quickly faded. Malcolm's new found obsession was the streets. Malcolm got involved in drugs, gambling, pimping and burglary. In 1946 Malcolm was arrested and put in prison. However, his imprisonment turned out to be a rebirth rather than a punishment. Malcolm's early struggle in prison led him find Bimbi, a follower of Islam. Bimbi taught Malcolm about Muhammad's teachings and the importance of reading, language and words. Malcolm soon became infatuated with the nation of Islam. The teachings of Islam, taught Malcolm that the white man was responsible for the Negros hardships. However, Malcolm would have never been able to comprehend Bimbi if he did not educate himself. Malcolm's determination to become educated is a clear example of the SMMI; in that Malcolm realizes that in order to succeed he must do things on his own. Malcolm's lack of education left him frustrated. Malcolm's only dialect was street slang, and that put a major hindrance on his being able to effectively explain his beliefs. "I...
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