Throughout history there have been many people who have stood out and made animpact in the way we think and comprehend things. During the late 1950’s andearly 1960’s, Malcolm X was no exception. His militant views that Westernnations were inherently racist and that black people must join together to buildtheir own society and value system had an important influence on blacknationalist and black separatist movements of the 1950s and 1960s. At thebeginning of the movie, Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little. He was a young childtrying to adapt to society’s changes. He was looking so hard that he fell intothe wrong crowd. Malcolm bumped into a man named Archie who was a big timethief. Archie ran a numbers system in the streets and he convinced Malcolm tojoin him. Malcolm became a scoundrel with an evil demeanor. Malcolm’s businesspartner, was a white woman by the name of Sophia. They were on drugs and evenrobbed a house. Because of their antics, the law was on their trail. Theyeventually caught and sent to prison. Malcolm was sentenced to 8 years in prisonwhile Sophia was only sentenced to 2 years because she was white. This relatesto the social organization of arrest, which suggest that police arrest blacks ata higher rate than whites. While Malcolm was in jail, he was well known to theguards. One time he was asked to state his number, but instead he said he forgothis number. The guards beat the hell out of him and sent him to the darkroom. Inthe darkroom he met Brother Baines. Baines was a man everyone respectedincluding 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 helpedMalcolm realize that Islam is for him and that the white man is the devil. Whilein prison, Malcolm read widely and developed an interest in the Nation of Islam,a Black Nationalist religious movement whose members were known as BlackMuslims. Malcolm studied the teachings of the leader of the Black Muslims,Elijah Muhammad, who advocated an independent black state. The Nation of Islamwas based on a theology adapted from several models: traditional Islamicteachings principles of Black Nationalism, and economic self-help programs thataddressed the needs of African Americans living in urban ghettoes. Unliketraditional Islam, which rejects all forms of racism, the Nation of Islamdeclared that whites were the “devil by nature,” and that God wasblack. However, the Black Muslims predicted that in the near future a Great Warwould take place in which whites would be destroyed and black people would rulethe world through the benevolence of Allah, their creator. To prepare for thisnew order, the Nation of Islam stressed personal self-restraint, opposed the useof drugs and alcohol, and organized economic self-help enterprises thateventually included farms, food stores, restaurants, and small businesses. TheBlack Muslims recruited heavily among the poorest of urban blacks and inprisons, where Malcolm Little was converted to the faith. Instead of wasting histime in prison and getting into more trouble, Malcolm decided to change hislifestyle 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 knowledgeopened up to him. He also tried to improve himself in other ways. He worked onhis social skills and his physical appearance. He decides not to associatehimself with former friends he got in trouble with and forms new relationshipswith people who want to make a change. One of the converted men, Brother Johnsonwas in an altercation with the police. The police said he was not quick enoughto get out of the way so they beat him almost to death because of his race. Thisis another example of racial conflict. Malcolm was furious. He rushed to thepolice station to see Johnson, but the police denied Malcolm permission to seeJohnson. Malcolm said that he would see Johnson and that he wasn’t leaving untilhe did. After a long struggle he got wish. While Malcolm was inside, hisbrothers were lined up outside the station like an army. Many of the police saidthat Malcolm had too much power. The police tried to use that as propagandaagainst Malcolm. They were trying to convince the members of Islam that