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The Autobiography of Malcolm X Summary

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The Autobiography of Malcolm X PDFAs Told to Alex Haley

Who was Malcolm X? How did he turn from being on the wrong path to becoming of one of the most influential activists for African-American rights in history?

Who Should Read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and Why?

“The Autobiography of Malcolm X” is a story that follows a man’s hard journey from being a school dropout, a criminal, a drug addict, and finally a person who finds his enlightened path.

Malcolm X started from the bottom and evolved to become one of the most significant individuals in history.

We recommend this book to readers interested in history, in human rights and overall in stories about redemption.

About Alex Haley

Alex HaleyAlex Haley is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and a respected journalist. He has also won the National Book Award and was a senior editor of Reader’s Digest.

He wrote, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” based on extensive interviews he conducted.

“The Autobiography of Malcolm X PDF Summary”

Malcolm X was one of the most significant African-American activists in history.

He has his own day celebrated on the 19th  May (his date of birth) in many cities in America.

Even if you have not heard of him, you have seen many movies about him – he is usually played by Denzel Washington or Morgan Freeman.

Malcolm X did not have an easy life. He was a kid in a family of a Baptist preacher and was one of the eight children. 

His mother was a kid born out of rape, and her skin was light, so she would sometimes get mistaken for being light.

Malcolm inherited his mother’s genes and was born with a light complexion and reddish hair.

He was harassed by his mother, and believed it was because of his appearance was different from that of his brothers.

His father, on the other hand, favored him.

His childhood was filled up with bad memories: their house was set to fire, and his father was murdered years after that.

However, according to the police, his death was an accident.

His mother struggled since a single woman could not take care of all eight children.

In the end, she had to turn to government aid.

Malcolm’s years in school were not comfortable as well.

He was expelled and sent to a detention home due to a prank he played on one of his professors.

He was treated nicely in the home, but the word “nigger” was used freely around him, as was usual during those years.

That was the first time Malcolm shared the living space with white people and saw the difference with which he was treated.

After he entered junior high, he noticed that the same treatment continued.

He did the best he could to integrate and was even elected as a class president, but he did not feel that his classmates treated him as an equal.

One of the teachers told him to be more realistic when he said he wanted to be a lawyer. He was hurt when he saw someone stomping on his dream.

After he finished seven grade, he went to visit his sister in Boston. The life he saw there was so different that he could never feel good back at home.

His sister became his guardian, and he moved to Boston where he learned about alcohol, drugs and street life.

One year Malcolm found a job as a waiter in Harlem and realized that he could make money selling marijuana.

When he lost the job, he continued doing it, and furthermore, he also started escorting white people to Harlem, to places where they could satisfy their sexual thirst.

As you can already see, Malcolm was walking the wrong path.

However, it all changed when a gambling dispute threw him off Harlem. Then, he moved back to Boston and started robbing houses.

On one of such occasions, he was arrested.

It may sound like a cliché, but during the time in prison, Malcolm was enlightened.

The reason for this was an old convict Bimbi who showed him how he could earn people’s respect by being well spoken.

That is when Malcolm became obsessed with reading.

He was reading anything and everything and soon trained his public speaking voice.

And, you know what they say: the rest is history.

If you want to know more details about the life of Malcolm X, read our key lessons, and of course, pick up the full book.

Key Lessons from “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”

1.      Childhood Events Shape People
2.      Losing Yourself Can Result in Finding Yourself
3.      Everyone Gets It Wrong From Time to Time, Even The Best of Us

Childhood Events Shape People

If childhood events in Malcolm X’s life – the murder of his father, the unfair treatment at school, the crushing of his dreams by the words of his teacher, and the feeling that he is not equal, did not happen, then probably the whole story of Malcolm would be different.

Childhood events shape us as people and create a basis for our values, what we love and what we try to change.

Losing Yourself Can Result in Finding Yourself

In Malcolm X’s story, it was needed for him to go from bad to worse and completely lose himself before he could find his calling in life.

Of course not always people walk from darkness to light, but for him, it was important that he experienced the worse, and raised from the ashes.

Everyone Gets It Wrong From Time to Time, Even The Best of Us

When Malcolm found out that Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam was not a face that was materializing all of his beliefs and values, he felt truly betrayed.

However, one year later, he notices Muslims showing mercy to each other, and questioned his beliefs again.

He was not afraid to admit that he was wrong and to question himself.

Life is evolving, and it is only human that we sometimes make mistakes, and learn the right answers somewhere further along the way.

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“The Autobiography of Malcolm X Quotes”

Hence I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight. Click To Tweet The main thing you got to remember is that everything in the world is a hustle. Click To Tweet So early in my life, I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise. Click To Tweet The ability to read awoke inside of me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive. Click To Tweet Why am I as I am? To understand that of any person, his whole life, from birth must be reviewed. All of our experiences fuse into our personality. Everything that ever happened to us is an ingredient. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

The summary we just presented to you is only a scratch on the surface of this man’s extraordinary journey.

The reading of the book is a must!

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