Malcolm X was an African American Muslim minister who, as a teen, spent most of his time hustling people and getting into trouble. This soon landed him in prison. During his prison sentence he became self-educated, which led him to be an articulate speaker, to discover the true history of African American slaves, and to become a strong advocator of human rights.
Malcolm X’s “A Homemade Education”, starts off in a soft and calm tone. X uses a persuasive style narrative from the Autobiography of Malcolm X to share his story. By the end of the essay his tone has changed to a more angry and demanding style.
While in prison, X explains how he began writing letters to Mr. Elijah Muhammad, a Muslim leader, but, not being able to write in an articulate manner, X began getting frustrated because he could not express what he wanted to say. He also states that he could not keep a conversation with his prison friend Bimbi or even understand the books he read because of his lack of knowledge. X says that he got a hold of a dictionary and began to copy word for word everything, learning more words and what they meant. He also says went to the prison library and read books about science, history, and slavery. X was most inspired by Mr. Muhammad’s teachings.
X explains that in one of Mr. Muhammad’s teachings, Mr. Muhammad stressed how history had been “whitened,” in other words, that black history was left out of history books (95). He says he immediately began to search in the library for books that would inform him about black history. He says he read many books about black history and the early struggles for freedom. X states he will never forget how shocked he was when he read about the brutality of slavery or the illustrations of black slave women being tied up and beaten, children being taken away from families, and dogs hunting down slaves.
X explains how he read books about the histories of various nations and learned that the white men
Cited: X, Malcolm. “A Homemade Education.” The Conscious Reader. Ed. Caroline Shrodes, Michael Shugrue, Marc DiPaolo, Christian J. Matuschek. Glenview, IL: Pearson Education, 2011. 92-100. Print.