Throughout history there have been many people who have stood out and made an impact in the way we think and comprehend things. During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Malcolm X was no exception. His militant views that Western nations were inherently racist and that black people must join together to build their own society and value system had an important influence on black nationalist and black separatist movements of the 1950s and 1960s.
At the beginning of the movie, Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little. He was a young child trying to adapt to society’s changes. He was looking so hard that he fell into the wrong crowd. Malcolm bumped into a man named Archie who was a big time thief. Archie ran a numbers system in the streets and he convinced Malcolm to join him. Malcolm became a scoundrel with an evil demeanor. Malcolm’s
business partner, was a white woman by the name of Sophia. They were on drugs and even robbed a house. Because of their antics, the law was on their trail. They eventually caught and sent to prison. Malcolm was sentenced to 8 years in prison while Sophia was only sentenced to 2 years because she was white. This relates to the social organization of arrest, which suggest that police arrest blacks at a higher rate than whites. While Malcolm was in jail, he was well known to the guards. One time he was asked to state his number, but instead he said he forgot his number. The guards beat the hell out of him and sent him to the darkroom. In the darkroom he met Brother Baines. Baines was a man everyone respected including the guards. He was know as the real man and gave speeches about Islam. Malcolm didn’t want to listen to him at first, but Baines’s cool style helped Malcolm realize that Islam is for him and that the white man is the devil.
While in prison, Malcolm read widely and developed an interest in the Nation of Islam, a Black Nationalist religious movement whose members were known as Black Muslims. Malcolm studied the teachings of the leader of the Black Muslims, Elijah Muhammad, who advocated an independent black state. The Nation of Islam was based on a
theology adapted from several models: traditional Islamic teachings principles of Black Nationalism, and economic self-help programs that addressed the needs of African Americans living in urban ghettoes. Unlike traditional Islam, which rejects all forms of racism, the Nation of Islam declared that whites were the “devil by nature,” and that God was black. However, the Black Muslims predicted that in the near future a Great War would take place in which whites would be destroyed and black people would rule the world through the benevolence of Allah, their creator. To prepare for this new order, the Nation of Islam stressed personal self-restraint, opposed the use of drugs and alcohol, and organized economic self-help enterprises that eventually included farms, food stores, restaurants, and small businesses. The Black Muslims recruited heavily among the poorest of urban blacks and in prisons, where Malcolm Little was converted to the faith.
Instead of wasting his time in prison and getting into more trouble, Malcolm decided to change his lifestyle and devise a plan to better himself. He goes through a gleaning stage. He began to read and expand his mind. As he did this, a world of knowledge opened up to him. He also tried to improve himself in other ways. He worked on his social skills and his physical appearance. He decides not to
associate himself with former friends he got in trouble with and forms new relationships with people who want to make a change.
One of the converted men, Brother Johnson was in an altercation with the police. The police said he was not quick enough to get out of the way so they beat him almost to death because of his race. This is another example of racial conflict. Malcolm was furious. He rushed to the police station to see Johnson, but the police denied Malcolm permission to see Johnson. Malcolm said that he would see Johnson and that he wasn’t leaving until he