The Autobiography of Malcolm X Chapter 18: El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz

Malcolm X, Alex Haley

Chapter 18: El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz

Study Questions
1. What daily customs and routines does Malcolm begin to follow?

2. After his experiences, what recommendations does Malcolm have for African-American leaders?

3. Malcolm names two American authors who have “helped to spread and intensify the concern for the American black man.” Who are they?

4. Why does Malcolm voice suspicion when he finds out the United States’ State Department official, G. Mennen Williams, is visiting Africa?

5. In Lagos, Nigeria, Malcolm is given a new name by the Muslim Students’ Society. What is that name? Explain its significance.

6. What African country’s wealth and natural beauty impresses Malcolm the most?

7. What other prominent African–American leader visited Ghana before Malcolm?

8. Compare Casablanca’s famous Casbah with New York City’s Harlem. How are they similar?

9. When Malcolm uses the word “Negro,” he is corrected, and told to use the term “Afro-American” instead. Explain.

10. When asked about the reason for his split with Elijah Muhammad, what response does Malcolm give?

Answers
1. The Muslim customs that Malcolm begins to follow are ablutions before daily praying in a seated posture, in addition to eating from the same plates, drinking from the same glasses, and sleeping on the same rugs, with many people.

2. Malcolm recommends that African-American leaders travel extensively in non-white countries.

3. The two American authors whom Malcolm mentions are James Baldwin and John Griffin.

4. Malcolm voices his suspicions about G. Mennen Williams’ visit to Africa because Williams was the Governor of Michigan when Malcolm’s father was murdered, and nothing had ever been done about that crime.

5. Malcolm is given the name “Omowale” by the Muslim Students’ Society. It means, in the Yoruba language, “the son who has come home.”

6. Malcolm is most impressed with Ghana’s wealth and natural beauty.

7. Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois visited Africa before Malcolm.

8. Casablanca’s famous Casbah was once a ghetto for dark-skinned native Moroccans, just as New York City’s Harlem is a ghetto for African Americans.

9. Malcolm is told that the term “Afro-American” has greater meaning and dignity than “Negro.”

10. When asked about his split with Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm explains that they had disagreed about the political direction and involvement in African Americans’ struggle for human rights. He says that he respects the Nation of Islam as a “source of moral and social reform.”