Malcolm X has effectively been portrayed as a monster who wanted to do more than spread his hate of white people. Of course, coming from a Black home one knows much more than that, but he is still understood as one to preach violence, the opposite of Martin Luther King Jr. if you will, but he was much more than that. After reading his painted picture of his life, the man known as Malcolm X appears to be more righteous than any religious figure head that the public has ever come to know.
Malcolm was raised in a UNIA home prior to his father’s passing and the social stress that caused him to lose his mother. His roots were of Black unity and collectivism, but as the result that most Black children face through constant blatant and subtle racism, he went astray. He really believed what his teacher told him, that a Black man should not attempt to be something as successful as a lawyer. Malcolm’s book was very PG in that he explained his life of crime without the details that would paint an explicit mind picture. This had me thinking that the book would be great for a 10 year-old.
Malcolm’s spiraling life of crime finally caught up with him when he was caught with his burglary ring that is comprised of himself, his friend and two white girls. His brother introduced him to the religion of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Nation of Islam, which Malcolm X reluctantly converted. What I found astounding and what leads me to my view of Malcolm’s righteousness is his loyalty to the morals that he found underneath the Nation of Islam. From the first day Malcolm called himself a Muslim, until the day he died, he changed his entire eating, living, resting habit of life. Even after learning that Mr. Muhammad was not so moral, Malcolm still did not change who he was.
Another honorable trait that I saw of Malcolm, simply from reading the words he elected to be included in his book, was that he had every opportunity to discredit Mr. Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, but he did not. He continued to respect Mr. Muhammad as a man.
After all of the betrayal that Malcolm endured from some of his closest friends, Malcolm still remained true to his God given mission of unifying the Black “race”. He studied Islam deeper, even traveled the globe and met many prominent figure heads as well as many celebrities. None of this dissuaded him from his mission of unifying his people.
When I reached the epilogue of the book, my first thought was that I didn’t want to know what Alex Haley had to say about Malcolm because his name was not what peaked my interest in reading, but I soon found that his section of the book was just as valuable as what Malcolm had to say. He basically offered a behind the scenes look to what was going on in Malcolm’s world. Haley gave us the insight that we needed in knowing that Malcolm was such a profound being that he did not let mishaps such as no money, failed leaders etc, hinder him. Even in our most loved leaders, we accept that life’s toll is an excuse for moral mistakes, but Malcolm didn’t make moral mistakes. How righteous is that?
I don’t put leaders up against each other and rate them for score, but I know that Malcolm has not (even with his street signs, movies, and honors) received his just due. He put aside his family that he loved dearly, his religion that every Black person holds high and his own life for the unity of the Black race. Although it may not seem like much, he is regarded well in my book of leaders (most of them unknown to the public) who have inspired me to continue my work for the African diaspora.