The Autobiography of Malcolm X

by Malcolm X, Alex Haley

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Chapter 11 Summary: Saved and Chapter 12 Summary: Savior

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Last Updated May 18, 2023.

At Norfolk Prison Colony, Malcolm immerses himself in Muhammad's teachings, reads classic literature, and explores philosophy, science, and world history. He writes daily letters to Muhammad, expressing his dedication to the Nation of Islam, and contacts former friends and politicians about religion and the white man's role in the black man's plight in North America.

Malcolm is disheartened to learn that Reginald, whom he highly respects, has been suspended from the Nation of Islam due to an inappropriate relationship with the New York Temple's secretary. He believes his transfer back to Charlestown Prison is related to his conversion to Islam, rather than his refusal to receive a vaccination.

After his release in 1952, Malcolm goes to Detroit to further his Islamic education. He stays with Wilfred's family and works in a furniture store managed by Wilfred. Eager to demonstrate his commitment to the Nation of Islam, Malcolm is overjoyed to meet Elijah Muhammad at a Chicago rally. He starts a membership drive, visiting Detroit's bars, poolrooms, and streets, and nearly triples Temple One's membership.

Malcolm changes his last name from "Little" to "X" to represent the unknown African name he never knew. Inspired by Minister Lemuel Hassan, he starts preaching in the temple and captivates his listeners. He works in various factories while sharing Muhammad's teachings.

An FBI agent questions Malcolm about his failure to register for the Korean War draft. Malcolm claims he didn't think ex-convicts were allowed in the army, although he knows this isn't true. When registering at the draft board, he is more honest, declaring himself a conscientious objector who cannot support fighting for a country that mistreats black people. He receives a deferment.

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