Malcolm X
Topics: African American, Black people, White people / Pages: 5 (1013 words) / Published: Aug 16th, 2013

Malcolm X's early experiences with racism shaped his thinking throughout his lifetime. As a child growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, Malcolm was witness to the near lynching of his father and the burning of his family home by Klansmen. Later, his father was killed and his mother was committed to a mental institution. Malcolm and his siblings were split up by child welfare and for awhile he was forced to live in a reform home run by racist white people. Malcolm moved to Boston in his early teens and soon found himself in trouble with the law. In 1946 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for burglary. It was in prison that he began to turn his life around. In his autobiography, Malcolm recalls that, "I had sunk to the very bottom of the American white man's society," until "in prison- I found Allah and…it completely transformed my life." (150) He became involved in the Nation of Islam, led by Elijah Muhammad. It was at this time that Malcolm took his first step towards his belief of non-integration with the white people of America. When he was released in 1952, he renamed himself Malcolm X in keeping with Elijah Muhammad's belief that American blacks should give up their "slave names." The "X", he said, "Replaces the white slave-master name imposed upon my paternal forebears by some blue-eyed devil." (203)
Malcolm X believed that integration wasn’t the answer to American Negro’s problems. He believed that “no sane black man really wants integration! No sane white man really wants integration!” (250) It is this belief that Malcolm X proceeded to share among his fellow blacks. At this time in the United States there was a major drive for racial integration; however, Malcolm X was calling for racial separation. He believed that the civil rights gains made in America were not true and sincere. He criticized those African Americans who used nonviolence in order to achieve integration and advocated self-defense in the face of white violence. He urged black people to

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