The Autobiography of Malcolm X

by Malcolm X, Alex Haley

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Chapter 10 Summary: Satan

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Last Updated May 18, 2023.

In 1946, Malcolm is sentenced to a decade in prison and is transferred to the rundown Charlestown State Prison, along with his friend Shorty, who receives an eight-to-ten year sentence. During his time in prison, Malcolm becomes known as "Satan" due to his passionate atheistic outbursts. He encounters Bimbi, an eloquent and well-read black man whom he greatly admires. Encouraged by Bimbi, Malcolm enrolls in correspondence courses while incarcerated.

Malcolm's siblings have recently embraced Islam and want him to convert as well. In a letter, his brother Reginald suggests that he stop consuming pork and smoking. Malcolm believes there is a hidden message in Reginald's advice, thinking that following these instructions might lead to health issues and an early release from prison. Surprisingly, he easily quits pork and cigarettes.

With the help of Ella, Malcolm is relocated to the Norfolk Prison Colony in Massachusetts, an experimental rehabilitation facility, in 1948. The Colony offers numerous educational programs and a vast library.

During a visit, Reginald informs Malcolm that adherents of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam, refrain from cigarettes, pork, drugs, and alcohol. According to Muhammad, black people have been "brainwashed for centuries" by "white devils." Reginald provides multiple examples of white oppression and exploitation of black individuals, including slavery and the omission of African-American history in "whitewashed" textbooks. Malcolm's sister Hilda also visits and shares more about Muhammad's teachings.

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