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From the Autobiography Of Malcolm X - Essay Example

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He was a Muslim teacher and a social activist who defended black Americans’ rights against oppressive rules of the then powerful white regime that was also accused of intense…
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From the Autobiography Of Malcolm X
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What Malcolm X gives as his ‘A-HA’ moment? Malcolm X was an African American who lived for four decades, from the year 1925 to the year 1965. He was a Muslim teacher and a social activist who defended black Americans’ rights against oppressive rules of the then powerful white regime that was also accused of intense racism. Literacy and eloquence were therefore his needed weapons for the campaigns though he was not formally educated. In this paper, I review an excerpt to identify and explain what Malcolm X offers as his “A-HA” moment.
‘A-ha’ moment defines a moment of revelation or breakthrough. It is a moment in which a person develops wisdom and comprehension that transforms his or her life. Malcolm’s a-ha moment, from the excerpt, is the period in which he developed literacy and proficiency in English. This moment of development was a period of relief because it terminated Malcolm’s initially developed frustration regarding his poor ability to communicate in writing. He explains that he previously wrote letters to different recipients but the parties never replied to his letters, and although he believes that they might not have received the letters, he admits that the letters were written in sketches and the inability to communicate in writing, as he communicated orally, frustrated him. Malcolm then begun to improve his literacy level by reading while he was in Charlestown prison. This however faced a challenge as he did not understand many words but he pressed on, motivated by people around him. The learning moment however culminated through his study of the dictionary while he was in Norfolk Prison College and he was later able to read and understand diversified literature (McGraw 21-23).
The learning moment was his defining moment because it garnered him the required knowledge and wisdom that he previously lacked. His self-concept of the two periods, before the learning moment and after, explains this. Before the moment, Malcolm was unable to read and write. He admits to this by reporting his frustration from the fact that he could not communicate his opinions in writing as adequately as he could do orally. He was accustomed to slang corrupted language to the extent that he could not write a formal communication, even in Basic English. Malcolm however recons with a high level of literacy and proficiency in his later communications that people associated with a formally educated speaker, but he points out that the achievement is attributable to the learning efforts and opportunities that he had during his moments in prison (McGraw 21-23).
The society’s time series perception of Malcolm’s literacy potential also defines the period as a developmental and inspirational moment. His dropping out of school was for example a result of the society’s perception, expressed through his teacher, that he could not achieve his academic dream because of his race (Haley 41). He however, after the defining moment, became a nationally recognized leader who commanded social respect (McGraw 21-23).
Malcolm further identifies the learning moment as his a-ha moment because of the zeal that he developed for learning. He explains that he, and some of the other inmates in the prison, developed a wide based knowledge beyond what would be required of a university student. His zeal also went beyond his environment that was rehabilitation based and not academic (McGraw 21-23).
Malcolm therefore identifies his period of informal education, while in prison, as his a-ha moment. He identifies his weaknesses before the period and his esteemed social status after the moment, as well as his learning zeal during the moment as definitive references to the moment’s success.
Works cited
Haley, Alex. Autobiography of Malcolm X. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1965. Print.
McGraw. Narration. McGrawHill. n.d. Web. January 22, 2013. < http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/dl/free/0073383856/664984/bus9257X_ch01.pdf >. Read More
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