Learning to read Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass Comparison Essay

Last Updated: 12 Mar 2023
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Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X both were African Americans who struggled to be successful. Frederick was born a slave for life 1817 he didn’t go to school but wanted to have knowledge. He had a lot of obstacles in his path but the fact he wanted to learn to read and write keep him going though he wanted to give up sometimes. Frederick Douglass also wanted abolish slavery.

Malcolm X was born in May 19, 1925 into a family. During his early years his family moved a number of times because of racism. At age 6 his father was murder mysteriously, their home was burned and four of his uncles were murder by white people. His family struggled economically and they were living off public welfare.

His mother became ill and he was sent to foster home. At age 13 Malcolm X was charge with delinquency and dropped out of school at age 15. As a teenager later he began wearing flashy clothing and jumped into criminal acts, like doing drugs, gambling and burglary. Age twenty he was sentence to 10 years in prison for burglary. In there he began to transform his life.

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Frederick was against slavery while Malcolm was against racism. They both had a dream to fight for injustice for their people against racism and slavery. Both Frederick and Malcolm taught themselves how to read and write. Frederick Douglass was a slave and it was illegal for slave to have knowledge.

He didn’t wanted to be a slave he wanted to be something better, wanted to have knowledge as he saw it as power. He educated himself using various strategies, like learning from the boys on the street by trading bread for knowledge. He would even go to the lumber yard and copied the letter that the carpenter would write on the timber the name of the place it was intended to go.

Then later he would meet the boys challenging them that he can write better and they would respond saying “I don’t believe you” this way Frederick got a good lesson. Malcolm X also taught himself to read and write starting with whatever knowledge he knew before dropping out of school. After being sentence to prison he began coping words from the dictionary everything on the page down to punctuationand began reading books on history, Philosophy and religion.

Reading and writing kept Frederick and Malcolm alive through their struggles in becoming something better. Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X both realize how knowledge was great as they interest in reading and writing grew. Frederic knowledge made him a wiser and smarter man than being a slave like he was, he saw better things ahead with knowledge.the both He wanted to be something better than a slave not just for himself but also for his fellow slaves too. However reading and writing open up a new world for Malcolm X, it was better and different than when he was out on the streets with flashy cloths and committing crimes.

Many thoughts had started appearing in his head. The thoughts ofbeing someone better as well, like Frederick, and to fight for his fellow black people too. They both used their knowledge to help fight justice for they fellow people in the exact situation as them that is slave and racism. Frederick Douglass used his own knowledge to write his own pass and escaped and became a public speaker.

A brave speaker who spoke out against those who tolerated slavery. and he was able to help abolish slavery. Many doubted that he had been a slave as he was such an impressive public speaker. On the other hand reading changed the course of Malcolm X life forever with a better understanding of many things around such as, racisms around him.

He had “little bit more sensitivity to the deafness, dumbness and blindness that were afflicting the black race” which meant he was able to understood the things that the black race was going through. With his knowledge he became a speaker as well. He became the most visible national spokesman for the black mulisms.anf fought freedom for other from the Christian religion, racism and violence against African American. However, one difference with both writers was that Malcolm X had his own organization while Frederick didn’t.

Reading and learning about these two authors has inspire me with respect to my own goals by exposing to me and making me understand more how powerful knowledge really is. That knowledge is the key to many things. The more knowledge we gain through reading and writing the more we are able to understand thing in a different and positive way.

I honestly never used to like reading but when I was then introduce to a book named “the walk series” as I was finishing the first series I then realize why Malcolm and Frederic had passion for reading writing I gained form reading and my interest began to grow as well.

I can see that both writers had determination regardless of the circumstance/ obstacles in order to achieve what they had wanted. Not only had they had determination but they both also had love and interest for reading and writing. This reminds me of myself being determine to complete all my homework and assignments on time regardless the obstacles I faced like having long travel hours and chores I had to get done with limited time as my mom wasn’t around at that moment.

American History X vs. Malcolm X

The movies American History X and Malcolm X both tackle critical social issues evident in the past as well as in the present. These issues revolve around race and culture, which is well related to issues like freedom, individuality, discrimination, and social acceptance. In both the films, these issues were not really highlighted at the very beginning. Both Malcolm X and American History X showed a socially negative start, like the involvement of Edward Norton in a White supremacist group, or Denzel Washington’s portrayal of Malcolm X’s criminal past.

But despite this, the film rebounded on the positive light through the realizations of the main characters at some points in the film. These realizations or moments of truth were life changing experiences for Edward Norton and Denzel Washington, as they portray the turning points in the life of the characters that they play in their respective movies. In American History X, Edward Norton’s moments of truth occurred to him when he was sent to prison, after murdering a black man who tried to rob him. At first, the murder wasn’t really a big deal to him, since his principles dictate that it was the right thing to do.

As a white supremacist, he sees himself as a better person than the person he killed, and that his deed was that of good will. He was even grinning when he was arrested (Kaye). When he was sent to prison, he realized that life was not only black and white. He was able to see the wrongs of what he thought was right, and because of that, he slowly distanced himself from the brotherhood and the beliefs that he catered for a long time. He began associating with people from other races, though it was hard for him, as he had to suffer the harsh ways of the people he turned away from.

Despite all these, he became a changed man, and eventually desired to live a better life with his brother. On the other hand, Denzel Washington had his moments of truth in the film Malcolm X, in the same manner as that of Norton in American History X. During his youth, Denzel Washington lived a life of crime in the streets. He was a member of gangs which had dealings with illegal activities. He was arrested for robbery at one time, and was then sent to prison (Lee). It was the life in prison that changed him personally.

He met a man who introduced him to the Nation of Islam, and also motivated him to move away from a life of vices and crime. He stopped drinking and smoking, and eventually succumb to the Islamic ways that was introduced to him. After prison, he continued to live a clean life, and opted to influence others of his newfound strength. He also realized that race should not be an issue in society. Both the films realized the truth through their experiences. It was not only based on the words or the influences of others, but also on the accompanying actions that they experienced.

The lives they lived previously were not good at all, but it served as a comparison for them when they decided to live away from hatred and discrimination (Cyrus and Fiske-Rusciano). It was their experiences and acquaintances in prison that made them realize the truth about their lives. They shunned away discrimination, dominance, and hatred, and embraced a life of acceptance and freedom, despite the dire consequences that they faced at the end of the movie. The truth that they found proved to be very ironic in the end of the films.

In American History X, Norton’s brother was shot dead by a black gang member. On the other hand, Malcolm X was assassinated before giving a speech for the masses. Despite these, the truth that they found was not at all fragile. If they decide to revert back to their old selves and exact revenge on those who did them wrong, the cycle of hatred would just continue. Norton realized this in a hard hitting manner. He had killed somebody before, now it is returned to him when his brother was killed. Malcolm X led a criminal life in his youth, and in the end, he was assassinated.

The truth that they found was cemented by these events. There is a need for a social acceptance in order to stop the cycle of hatred and violence. This is the truth. Edward Norton and Denzel Washington learned this truth the hard way. Works Cited Cyrus, Virginia, and Roberta Fiske-Rusciano. Experiencing Race, Class, and Gender in the United States. Third Edition ed: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages, 2000. American History X. 1998. John Morrissey, October 23. Malcolm X. 1992. Preston L. Holmes, et al. , November 18.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

How is it that a man who was completely illiterate, a criminal and even worse he was black, in a time that meant you were less than a dog, could go on to lead a nation of black people towards freedom? Malcolm X is the classical story of tenacity, adversity, and determination and his end result was triumph. To Malcolm X reading was the most important thing in the world to him, and no matter how hard it would be he wanted nothing more than to learn. He knew that if he were to change his life around and make something of himself, he had to begin with the smallest of aspect which as learning how to read.

His persistence did not Just help him become the man he wanted to be, but it propelled him into the history books and he will forever remain a figure for many because he simply chose to take advantage of one of the most basic educational tools which is reading. Showing the world that every man deserved to be treated equally and that no matter how big or small your goals are if you are tenacious enough then you will reach them. Malcolm X played a major role in African American history. He was a Civil Rights leader and was very powerful to many people f his time and even now.

He enforced the idea that all people were created equal and that the way of life should remain that way. Malcolm has influenced much of society today. He changed the world's direction and shape in many ways. He inspired many African Americans to fight racism continuously and proactively. He offered an alternative to martin Luther kings argument to non-violence and pacifism. He also showed that African Americans could also be articulate and highly intellectual. While in prison, Malcolm is tried to make great use for his time.

He ran across a man named Bimbo, whom he became very Jealous of, because Bimbo seemed to have it all together. Malcolm envied Bimbo, Elijah Muhammad, and had great respect for him even though he did not know him. Malcolm loved the way that Bimbo always was in the topic of discussion in many conversations people were having, and to Malcolm, Bimbo's vocabulary was flawless. He felt as if he knew exactly what he was talking about and that he was an all-around amazing person. After watching Bimbo in amazement he began to read books. Books in which he could barely understand.

Saying, "They might as well have been in Chinese. " Soon after, he went to the Norfolk Prison and began trying reading more and more. He requested a dictionary, a tablet, and some pencils from the prison, and once they were granted to him he began copying pages from the dictionary, Just reading it back to himself over and over. He was self teaching himself to read, write and understand all at once. He took it one step at a time, one day at a time and his strategy was to start with copying the first page in the dictionary of As, and then he read them back to himself continuously.

He eke up the next day thinking about the previous words he had written and was shocked and proud to have written that many words. This is what began to mold Malcolm X into an amazing man, he was able to teach himself to understand the fundamentals of reading and writing and then went on to make a monumental movement in African American history. All it took was some dedication and belief in himself. Malcolm used many different dictionaries while imprisoned. He was so fascinated with his learning the dictionary so quickly that he went on the next day and began writing the second page.

He explains in the article, "l studied the next page and the same experience came when I studied that (X 16). " The more pages he wrote in the dictionary the more he would explain that he would learn more about people, places and events in history. Soon after the As section had filled a full tablet he moved onto the B section of the dictionary. "That was the way I started copying what had eventually became the entire dictionary (X 16). " He was extremely successful while in prison, how many men are sent to prison and then teach themselves to read?

He took it upon himself to take a bad situation and turning it into time for him to reflect and prepare himself to become great, which speaks volumes of his character and determination. It was Civil Rights leaders like Malcolm X who have helped to ensure no one has to struggle to obtain the ability to read and write. He made it his purpose to educate everyone in future generations so that it would help lead too brighter, wiser America. It was during the time of self-enlightenment that Malcolm brother, Shorts, visited him and Jail talked about his recent conversations with the Muslim Religions Organization of the Nation of Islam.

After liking to his brother he explained to him, Malcolm decided to study the Nation of Islam. He came across the leader of the nation, Elijah Muhammad. Muhammad preached that white society constantly worked to keep African Americans from empowering themselves and achieving political, economic and social success. Among other goals, the Nation of Islam fought for a state of their own, one separate from state inhabited by the white people. Malcolm was named the minister at the No's Boston mosque, Temple No. 11. The following year he also became the minister at Temple No. 2 (Philadelphia) and Temple No. (New York). In the sass's he was invited to participate in numerous debates and television shows. In 1963, the New York Times reported that Malcolm X was the second most sought after speaker in the United States. This is when Malcolm X began to become a household name and began to affect people's lives on a completely different level. Even though Malcolm X was seen as a great man and one of the greatest leaders to ever walk the face of this Earth, he was scrutinized by so many people as well.

Unlike Martin Luther King Jar, who was equally as important to the Civil Rights movement in America, Malcolm X as a physical, demanding and aggressive person. He didn't choose to have sit ins, protests and marches, he made it his purpose to get his message across loud and clear. He viewed protests as futile, while they served their purpose, most of the time people do not like to acknowledge there is a problem until people began to get hurt. This is also led to some criticism from his own race about the way he did things, but still he stood by his beliefs and knew in his heart that what he was doing was for the good of his people.

Even though his views weren't always agreed with by everyone hey were very effective and no one ever denied how intelligent and how caring he was. For the times Malcolm X was the worst nightmare for the typical suburban, middle class White American. He was aggressive, persistent, intelligent and didn't wait for result but demanded them. Ever since he realized how much he wanted to be someone, he made it his agenda to change everything about his old self. He learned how to read and never stopped educating himself, adopted the Islamic faith, and even changed his name from Malcolm Little to Malcolm X.

He saw it more important than anything else to lead his people. He was tired of Blacks being unable to read the most basic things such as a daily newspaper, he was unhappy with the way Blacks were being treated and took it upon himself to change all of that by changing himself and then showing the world that if you want something in life you have to take it. Even today many people are still adopting the principles that Malcolm X brought forth to us, all of which started from a man wanting to make something of himself because he was tired of seeing himself, and more importantly, seeing his people struggle.

Essay on Malcolm X

Malcolm X used literacy as the main tool to gain knowledge. If Malcolm X were alive today he would have been just as likely to have needed and valued literacy. Writing can be used as a means of increasing understanding of complex subjects. Technology can prove to be too distracting for cognitive learning. Malcolm X used writing as a way to memorize and better understand words. While imprisoned in the Charleston Prison he began to copy the dictionary from beginning to end. In doing so Malcolm started thinking about the words he had written down and even remembering their meanings.

In today[‘]s era of TV and video Malcolm X would have surely valued literacy equally as he did in his time. The act of writing helps the writer better understand complex subjects. In the case of Malcolm X the copying of the dictionary helped him broaden his vocabulary and gave him a better understanding of written works. [During his prison studies Malcolm X realizes a connection between writing and cognitive learning. “ I woke the next morning, thinking about those words immensely proud to realize that not only had I written so much at one, time but id written words that I never knew were in the world.

Moreover, with little effort, I also could remember what many of these words meant. ”] As Malcolm continued to learn new words, he was able to pick up a book for the first time, read it and understand what the book was saying. There is good evidence that writing things down might in fact help the writer remember things better. While Malcolm X was re writing the dictionary he was absorbing more than if he was to watch a video or television. [deleted]Malcolm X compares the dictionary to a miniature encyclopedia. [ “with every succeeding page, I also learned of people and events from history.

Actually the dictionary is like a miniature encyclopedia. ”] As he proceeded to re write the dictionary he found himself learning about people, places and events from history. In todays era of technology television programs and videos can be too distracting for cognitive learning. The overwhelming amount of entertaining media can prove distracting when using television or movies as a learning tool. One must be able to differentiate the educational programs from entertaining fictional programs. The dictionary [,]however[,] is filled with factual knowledge and is a more effective learning tool.

Malcolm X accredits most of his knowledge to the time he spent imprisoned. In his time in jail he had [few] distractions, which allowed him to better absorb knowledge. In today’s technologically driven world there are many more distractions than in the past. With distractions such as television, movies and video games one can be content with just passing time rather than learning and further increasing their knowledge. Malcolm X emphasizes the harm of distractions on cognitive learning. Had he lived in today[‘]s technologically driven world he would have had many more distractions to worry about.

If Malcolm X had lived in today’s era of television and video he would have needed and valued literacy all the same. Malcolm’s desire to learn would have pushed him away from the distractions of television and videos. Even in today[‘] world Malcolm would have valued the dictionary as his main source of knowledge. Motivated to learn as much as he could he would have used writing as his major tool in cognitive learning. Only by copying the dictionary was Malcolm X able to absorb as much knowledge as he did.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X essay

What Is the meaning of the title? Does It have a surface or deeper meaning? The title "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" is a book of Malcolm Ax's life story, which is a powerful voice in our black history. During his lifetime he went through several significant changes in his lifestyle and beliefs. Many of these things were influenced by his travels, life events and who he came Into contact with. 2. Identify the setting's historical significance During Malcolm Ax's lifetime he traveled to many places in the United States as well as out of the country.

He was born In Omaha, Nebraska. Malcolm father, Earl Little, was a traveling Baptist minister so they moved around in the united States. At the age of seventeen Malcolm moved to Boston, Massachusetts. This is where he began to get involved with drugs, gambling, drinking, pimps, and stealing. 3. Does this work make a political observation about African American culture? Does it perpetuate damaging stereotypes and myths about African Americans or does it deflate these myths and stereotypes? Malcolm X continued to Jump around in his beliefs.

This makes me wonder If he lived longer would he have still believed the same thing. From when he was a child, a teenager in Boston, prison, following under Elijah Muhammad, to creating his own religion. Malcolm focused most of his life on people being bias. At the beginning of his book he said that his father was even bias Like the whites. He treated Malcolm different, compared to his brothers and sisters; he said It was because he was light skinned. Did his father say this or Is this Just Malcolm opinion?

Who in this world isn't bias about something it may not be color of skin, but financial well being, background or heritage. I'm not saying that this Justifies being prejudice against African Americans. However, if you are constantly looking for something you will see what you're searching for, even If It really Isn't there. Which Is something I fell Malcolm X does repeatedly throughout his life. Race is always brought up in his arguments. Doesn't he want a better for the black community? He is criticizing his own people.

Is this what we want African American's to be seen as, disparaging their own race. Malcolm portrays as an angry black male against the whites, judgment should not been applied in anger. Malcolm is constantly against the whites and the African Americans that have made a better life in at this time hat was a white world. Change is gradual; the black community is trying out the new waters and opportunities they were given. Malcolm X Is known as a great black activist, but I see that his teaching of how to be an Independent African American community was not an effective way.

Blacks are known today as majority of the population of our prisons and majority of single family homes. Should the black community continue to preach Malcolm support of violence as answer to these problems? We should teach self reliance and a strong male presence In the household. Malcolm did teach these things however he did not teach non violence, which I believe is a key part of this problem. 5. Identify an appropriate audience for this work. Does this work have universal appeal?

Before I say what audience this work is appropriate for; I think I should ask if Malcolm X was a leader that should be followed. Malcolm was born in poverty and grew up as a trouble teenager. After prison Malcolm changed his life and became a leader for the black community. Was he a leader that should be followed? Did he help the black community step forward as a group of people wanting equal freedom and rights? There were many historical leaders that led groups of people that had efferent views to another leader. But which leader gave path to a better lifestyle?

I could argue that this work is appropriate for young black males. That it could be inspirational for them to see a man go from poverty to a historical leader. However, do we want these young black males to look up to a leader that didn't really change the world for the good? I think we should see if today, fifty years later, the movement Malcolm led has benefited the black community. Malcolm became deeply involved in the growing turmoil of the civil rights movement. As a radical black leader, Malcolm X advocated black pride and financial self-reliance.

He ultimately rose to become a world-renowned African American and human rights activist. I think Malcolm Ax's belief of becoming self reliant and building a strong black family household is what every person should strive for. However, his embrace of violence is something I do not believe is a way to overcome and be recognized as a black community wanting their own opportunities and liberty. I still feel like today violence is used in hope to gain freedom and opportunities. This would make me hesitate to advice a young black male to read this work while looking for guidance.

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Learning to read Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass Comparison Essay. (2016, Jul 05). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/frederick-douglass-and-malcolm-x-compare-and-contrast-essay/

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