It has been reported that whilst Malcolm was in prison, he spent long hours reading books. He used a slither of light that entered his cell during the night to carry on reading into the small hours of the morning. The books he read includes: Englishman H.G. Wells, sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois, geneticist Mendel, and historian Will Durant. He was also gifted in speech.
“I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading opened to me…as I see it today, the ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive…my homemade education gave me, with every additional book that I read, a little bit more sensitivity to the deafness, dumbness, and blindness that was afflicting the black race in America…you will never catch me with a free fifteen minutes in which I’m not studying something I feel might be able to help the black man.”
Malcolm X was one of the greatest figures to have ever lived on earth. About 8 days ago was the 52nd anniversary since his death. Reflecting back, there are important lessons he taught us of life and below are 3 lessons we might learn to apply from his life and example.
#1.Don’t Write Anyone Off
Malcolm used drugs on his lowest of days. He also helped transport prostitutes to clients and when he was caught, he was sent to jail. At that point in time, he described himself as an animalistic and cutthroat that is ready to die for no reason.
There are so many people out there that have been dealt as foul a hand as Malcolm, he was just a youngster. It is also true that there are many people out there that cannot cope with changing environments of oppression. The least we can do is to avoid being dismissive and judgemental about others.
“Don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today”, said Malcolm.
#2.Strive For Unity
In mid-20th century, Malcolm found the answer to the racist state policies. He eventually stopped hating on the whites and strove to work with anyone that would be committed to promoting human rights.
He said: “Ignorance of each other is what has made unity impossible in the past. Therefore we need more enlightenment. We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, loves creates patience, and patience creates unity. Once we have more knowledge about each other, we will stop condemning each other and a United front will be brought about.”
#3.Challenge Yourself in Your Search for The Truth
Malcolm experienced a lot in life, moving from a promising student in his early years, to a dropout and full time hustler. His path lead him initially to the Nation of Islam, ultimately rejecting it and opting to convert to orthodox Islam, partly inspired by his experience in Mecca while performing the Hajj.
“Despite my firm convictions, I have always been a man who tried to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it”.