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Learning To Read Malcolm X Summary

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Breaking Barriers In the essay “Learning to Read” Malcolm X explains his personal transformation during the time he spent in jail. With only an eighth grade education, Malcolm became jealous of the intellectual gap between other inmates and himself. He began to read books from the Norfolk Prison Colony’s library, but he could not understand most of the words (275). This led Malcolm to obtain a dictionary and copy down each word in it. He started to devour books after enhancing his vocabulary and was finally able to understand the themes and make connections within the books he read (275). Astonished and overjoyed, Malcolm felt as if a whole new world was open to him, and all he had to do was fill his mind with all of its knowledge. He became a walking encyclopedia; however, the reason he yearned to gain knowledge was because he thought there was power in knowledge. With the amount of power gained in prison, he became an influential activist (281).…show more content…
He follows the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, which explains how history books have been altered to suit the likings of the white race (X 276). Elijah Muhammad was Malcolm’s mentor, and he was an African American religious leader who led the Nation of Islam in the early to the mid-twentieth century too. Malcolm emphasizes how minority groups have been left out of history texts, and for this reason, he believes that the white race is evil. There are multiple examples Malcolm gives of the white race being immoral and hypocritical. Slavery, the Opium Wars, and the Crusades were all actions against the minorities of the world and completed without true reason or morals; therefore, Malcolm became an activist for the betterment of minority
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