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Free Study Guide-The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X-Free Notes
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Chapters 17, 18, & 19

Notes

Chapters 17 & 18, describe the change in Malcolm's outlook after his visit to Mecca and some African countries. The visits give him a deep and fresh understanding, vis--vis the problems of blacks.

His visits to the Muslim countries make him realize that Islam was practiced very differently from what he had been taught in the Nation. Moreover when he met white Muslims who received him with warmth, he realized that Whites were not all devils.

This realization made him think and at the end of his search for truth, he decides to form the new Organization-OAAU.

The last chapter does not have any details of his activities in the year 1965. He was to meet Alex Haley, the editor on the weekend after Feb 21st, 1965. But Malcolm X was brutally assassinated on the fateful day at a public meeting.

The 17th chapter once again reveals Ella's affection for Malcolm. When Malcolm calls up and says he wants to go to Mecca- without asking any questions, she gives him all that she had saved to go to Mecca.

The reader learns a little bit about the holy city of Mecca and about the references to it in the 'Koran'. Here the reader is introduced to Mr. Shawarbi, who plays an important role in getting a visa and giving him phone numbers of people who could help him in Cairo and Jeddah.


The letter that he writes from the Holy City of Mecca, for the press in the U.S. is signed with his new name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. He takes on this name-for Shabazz is the tribe from which his ancestors-originally came from in Africa. The change in his outlook brought about by his visit to Mecca and several African countries is reflected in his speech to the press-when he refers to the blacks as Afro-Americans. Moreover, his attitude towards the whites also changes. This is evident from the incident at the end of chapter 18, when a white man calls him from his car at a signal near his car. The man asks him if he would shake hands with him-a white man. To this Malcolm says that he was ready to shake hands with any human being.

Malcolm's growing popularity abroad is evident from the incident in Frankfurt Airport-where a young student recognizes him.

Malcolm's subsequent (second) visit to the African countries helps him to deepen his understanding on the problems of blacks and sharpens his outlook.

The last chapter-1963, where he expresses his views on the condition of blacks in America then reveals his deep study of the subject vis--vis social change and a struggle for black dignity and a socially and politically just society for blacks.

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