The book learning to read is Malcolm X’s account of how his prison life turned into his biggest learning experience. In the book, he recounts about the opportunity that presented itself in the free prison time and how he used it to turn his life around. It is intriguing to note how an insignificant robber, with a prison sentence, transformed himself into America’s most influential black man in the 1960’s. It is unfortunate that Malcolm X met his end in 1965 when he was assassinated.
Malcolm X reveals how his will to learn came about, noting times when he felt he might not make it through the prison motions. Some people may find it hard to learn even with the greatest opportunities given to them and Malcolm X may have just become one of them, but he chose to further himself with his 7 years prison sentence. Many people serve even longer times in prison but never get to learn a thing, Malcolm X was an exception. With admirable zeal, this man made sure to make the most of his prison time.
When he became a Muslim, his need to send letters regularly to Mr Elijah Muhammad served as his motivation. What worried him was how his letters would sound in his native slang; and this seems to have inspired him to start educating himself. He names a man, Bimbi, whose conversation he had admired while in Charlestown prison. He also notes how he used dictionaries to improve his vocabulary and understand words that he had not known previously.
However, he notes that his reading was not without its challenges. The 10.00 pm nights out was particularly majorly annoying. He would have to end his reading for the day even though he did not like it. In his book, Malcolm X notes some books which he particularly loved including “Wonders of the world”, Will Durant’s “Story of Civilization” and “Souls of Black folk”. His greatest inspiration was Mr Muhammad’s teachings of “How History had been ‘Whitened’”.
The book learning to read comes out as Malcolm X’s victory over distressing life experiences turned into a prosperous life.
Malcolm, X. "Learning to Read." 1 October 2013. Gordonstate.edu. 1 October 2013 <http://www.gordonstate.edu/pt_faculty/jmallory/index_files/page0096.htm>.