ENG 131English Compostion1
September 25, 2014
Is having an education and knowing how to read important to you? It was very important to the slaves back then during slavery. Slaves did not have the privilege to learn how to read or get an education, they were forbidden to learn period. During that time of not being able to learn, oppression settled in on African Americans heavily because having an education and knowing how to read was very important to them, but living in a time of slavery they would be beaten or worse if they were caught trying to read. Learning to read and getting an education was also very important to Frederick Douglass during slavery in the 1800’s as we as to Malcolm X during his time of incarceration which started in 1946. This paper will discuss the relationship between reading, education, and oppression.
Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X nevertheless came from two separate backgrounds but they shared a similar interest when it came to reading. They both had an itch that needed to be scratched. They had a strong urge to learn how to read. Frederick Douglass was born a slave in 1819 but he grew up in his master’s house. Frederick’s mistress had a good heart and felt that he needed to learn how to read, so she began to teach Frederick every day. At this point Frederick had fell in love with reading and read every chance that he got. One day something was different about Frederick’s mistress, the good heart that she had to teach him how to read suddenly went out the window and the sight of him reading made her very upset. Even though Frederick’s mistress stopped teaching him how to read the urge that he had for reading grew stronger and stronger and he would do anything to continue learning how to read. On the other hand Malcolm X was born a free man. Malcolm X emerged as the leading spokesman for the black separatism. Malcolm X was well known as the most articulate hustler in the streets never minding the fact that he could barely read. Malcolm’s desire to learn how to read was jumped start when he was arrested in 1946 and was sentenced to prison for seven years on a robbery charge. During this time of Malcolm’s incarceration he wrote letters to Elijah Muhammad, in these letters Malcolm found it very hard to express himself due to the fact that he could not read or write as well as he should have been. Like most people this upset him very much to the point he decided to do something about it. Malcolm began to utilize the books that were available to all the prisoners. It took him a while to get used to reading, due to the fact that he had never really read anything prior because he did not know how to read. Malcolm stuck through the challenges of learning how to read and succeeded.
When it came to education Frederick Douglass never really got a real education while living with the Auld’s due to the fact that his master Hugh Auld instructed his wife Mrs. Auld to stop teaching Douglass immediately, saying that educations ruins slaves, making them unhappy and unmanageable. After hearing this startling news Douglass suddenly realized what he had to do. Douglass came to a conclusion within himself that he had to get an education in order to become free. Douglass was thankful to Mr. Hugh for the enlightenment that he received when he overheard him telling Mrs. Auld to stop teaching him. Now, Malcolm X was in a totally different situation. He had been incarcerated for some time now, and his reading skills had improved dramatically. Malcolm after some time realized, in order to carry on a decent conversation, a debate, or either just writing a letter he had to educate himself. Malcolm looked up to at the time a former prison mate that went by the name of Bimbi. Now Bimbi was known for being able to take control over any conversation that took place, and for having a lot of knowledge due to the fact