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The Autobiography of Malcolm X

by Malcolm X, Alex Haley

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Chapter 4 Summary: Laura

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Last Updated May 18, 2023.

Dance turns into Malcolm's primary obsession, prompting him to leave his shoe-shining position and take up work as a soda fountain attendant, allowing him to dance in the evenings. At his new job, he encounters Laura, a protected African-American girl residing with her grandmother. The duo dazzles as a dance pair when Malcolm brings Laura to Roseland.

Malcolm ceases to date Laura when he meets a beautiful, affluent white woman he calls Sophia. At the same time, Laura's life takes a dark turn. Rebelling against her grandmother, she starts consuming alcohol and using drugs; eventually, she resorts to prostitution to finance her addiction. Growing to despise her male clients, Laura ultimately identifies as a lesbian and ends up in jail frequently.

With Sophia's financial support, Malcolm moves in with Shorty and starts working as a busboy at the Parker House in Boston. Chapter 4 concludes with the news of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor reaching Malcolm.

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Chapter 3 Summary: “Homeboy”

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Chapter 5 Summary: Harlemite