Malcolm X And Ulrich's Literacy Behind Bars

1529 Words7 Pages
Countless battles have been fought on American soil, some with weapons, but most with words, opinions, and selfless actions. These memoirs tell the stories of Malcolm X and Ulrich and how they affected their respective movements. Malcolm X is one of the most famous and well known advocates of the civil rights movement. He has inspired many to stand up for their race, and to not be put down for the color of their skin. Much like Malcolm X, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is a famous and well known figure head in the fight for equality. Ulrich undoubtedly is most famous for her quote, “well behaved women seldom make history.” “Literacy Behind Bars” tells the story of how Malcolm X studied and read in Charlestown Prison and how the immense studying shaped…show more content…
Malcolm X was an extensively heavy participant in the fight for equality during the Civil Rights Movement. Malcolm X went above and beyond the call of duty, realizing that every book he read gave him more “sensitivity to the deafness, dumbness, and blindness that was afflicting the black race of America” (Malcolm X 643). Segregation had been going on for some time, and Malcolm X was sick and tired of the poor treatment. This brutal discrimination of African Americans is what called Malcolm X to action. When Malcolm X landed himself in Charlestown Prison, he decided to devote himself to studying and writing to improve his knowledge for his people. He wanted to go further than any civil rights leader had before. His purpose was to fix the situation that the black man had been put into against their will. However, Malcolm X was unable to devise this plan initially. Having only gone to school until the eighth grade, Malcolm X’s intelligence and studious nature came solely from his “prison studies” (Malcolm X 640). Before prison, Malcolm X was illiterate- meaning he was unable to read or write. The effort he put into constructing his plan shows how far Malcolm X was willing to go not just for himself, but for his people. To go from the untapped potential intelligence he possessed to the political genius he became is truly…show more content…
Throughout the years, Ulrich seemed to obtain a fascination with women’s actions throughout history. Rosa Parks was an “icon for the civil rights movement” (Ulrich 661), when she began the famous Montgomery bus boycott. Parks had become an inspiration to all, not only African Americans, but women all over the world. She was one of the first women to stand up and fight for what she believed in, which fascinated Ulrich. Ulrich was against the belief that a woman’s place was in the kitchen, or that women are for cooking, cleaning, and giving birth, and so was Parks. Parks “rejected all the assumptions about her place in the world” (Ulrich 663). In today’s world, it is hard to live as a minority, but in the 1950’s it was an even greater challenge. Not only was Rosa Parks an African American, but also a female. For Parks to speak out against the social standards of the time was unheard of. Ulrich has become comparable to Rosa Parks for the modern day time period, by speaking out and expressing her views to the extent that they are heard across the country. Women speaking out for change was thought to be unacceptable during that time period. She tries to convince women to stand up for change by encouraging them to not remain well behaved, but to fight for equality. Without the bravery and impact of Parks, Ulrich may not have the same beliefs and attitude towards women’s
Open Document