Universal Knowledge Essay

Universal Knowledge Essay

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Cardinal Newman’s definition of a university can be used to describe the acquisition of knowledge by Frederick Douglass, Eudora Welty and Malcolm X. John Henry Newman believed a university is a place of universal learning; a place where different people of different backgrounds come together under one roof. This type of definition has more of the appeal of Eudora Welty; where she was taught in a classroom lesson after lesson. However, this held true neither for Frederick Douglass nor for Malcolm X; their informed way of learning was due to their own thoughts and persistence. They have taken the other part of the definition of what is a university. As the Cardinal states here in his book The Idea Of a University I. What is a University? “…circulation of thought, by means of personal intercourse…” (1). Whatever the case may be, the authors all retained knowledge in different ways.
Frederick Douglass was a born slave that had escaped from Maryland, although he was far away from his slaves he became an advocate for those who were still enslaved. Douglass could not have achieved this if he had not learned how to read and Write. Since he had not learned how to read and write. Since he was born a slave reading and writing was none but a distant dream. However, he had breaches assistance from his mistress named Sophia. Sophia was Douglass’s teacher from the beginning; she had only shown him the alphabet when her husband had gotten to her about teaching Negroes how to read. So she stopped teaching him immediately. But that did not stop young Frederick, oh no, she had given him an inch now he wanted the whole yard. In his essay, “Learning to Read and Write” he states, “…was that of making friends of all the little white boys whom I met ...


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... on his pilgrimage to Mecca. There he saw that the teachings of Elijah Muhhammad were not fully true. As the Wikipedia source states, “Malcolm X said the trip allowed him to see Muslims of different races interacting as equals…Islam could be the means by which racial problems could be over come.” (Wikipedia 10). With this new found knowledge Malcolm tried to change the way Islam was taught in America. However this new idea had led to Malcolm X’s death in the year of 1965.
All three of these notorious writers and advocates of rights all had learned information in different ways. Whether it’d be conning young white children in the streets, In a class room or even behind the suffocating walls of Prison; knowledge is everywhere and you don’t have to go under one place to learn it. Knowledge is obtained by those who seek it with enough dedication and persistence.

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