In his book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm describes the racist society in the 1930’s. As a young boy the Ku Klux Klan killed Malcolm’s father. When Malcolm grew up he wanted to be a lawyer, but racism stood in his way. Later on, he goes to New York where he works in many illegal jobs such as: a hustler, robber, drug dealer, and pimp dealer. He then is sent to prison. There he learns about Islam in a wrong way. He also starts using his hustler techniques to win people and convert them. When he goes to Mecca he sees and learns the “true Islam”.
He then is expelled from the Nation of Islam, which was the old organization that described Islam as an anti-white religion. As Malcolm moves from one environment to another he adapts and as he moves he names himself a couple of names such as: Detroit Red, Satan, Elhajj Malik Shabbazz, and Malcolm X.There are many symbols that show that Malcolm’s view change based on the environment surrounding him. One of the many symbols is his zoot suit, and doing a conk hairstyle when he moves to New York. When he was in New York he started to befriend pimps such as Sammy the pimp, and drug dealers and robbers such as: Shorty.
He also had white girlfriend, but he uses her for status reasons. He later gets his name Detroit Red when he lives in whorehouse and starts marijuana and cocaine addiction. He then is arrested and sent to prison for ten years. As one can see the environment usually affects Malcolm.While in prison Malcolm tries to stop taking drugs.
This causes him to be very frustrated, which gets him another name by his inmates: Satan. While in jail he meets Billi an educated Negro, he then starts copying and reading a dictionary. He also hears about Islam and converts. As Malcolm reads he starts to improve his English and vocabulary.
He also starts to become an extremist this is evident in his saying: "Yes, I'm an extremist. The black race here in North America is in extremely bad condition. You show me a black man who isn't an extremist and I'll show you one who needs psychiatric attention!" Once he came out of jail he buys glasses, a wristwatch, and a suitcase.
These things symbolize his commitment in traveling to spread Islam, and his commitment to start an efficient career. Malcolm worked to free black people from racism at any price even his own death. He had once said: "Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery." He also said: "The price of freedom is death.” He also said:.