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Frederick Douglass and Malcom X - Literacy

            Frederick Douglass and Malcom X were both men who made American Black History. These men were involved in movements and gave speeches leading to the beneficial alterations in the Civil Rights Movement. They both helped bring together the United States for a better everyday life. Frederick Douglass and Malcom X are known for their powerful vocalizations, but they did not always have a way with words. These men taught themselves to read on their own, giving them the skills and knowledge they had to unify Americans and make history.
             Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X each achieved their learning abilities through the use of alternative methods. Douglass, as a slave in 19th-century America, learned the nitty-gritties of reading and writing secretly. Malcolm X had access to the library in prison that he claims any college in the world would be fortunate to have. They both read books and regularly copied letters and words to improve their skills in reading and writing. They chased their goals with definite determination and desire. However, the outlooks on the insinuations of their literary development were dissimilar. Frederick Douglass viewed his education somewhat as an affliction while Malcolm X believed learning freed him from the restraints of ignorance, even when he was locked up in a small, desolate jail cell.
             Frederick Douglass' mistress illegally taught him the alphabet when he was young. She quit teaching him informally at her husband's demand, but Douglass wanted to learn more. His low class position as a slave did not stop his curiosity - it encouraged him. Slaves supposedly were not to be well-educated, and he thought being educated would be one step closer to freedom. Therefore, he valued education, as evidenced by his quotation, "This bread I used to bestow upon the hungry little urchins, who, in return, would give that more valuable bread of knowledge" (119). These words "little urchins," represents a primitiveness that trying to learn from white boys would be useless.

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