March 9

Response to “Learning to Read” Malcolm X and Alex Haley

San Quentin Testimonies

As you view the video above, consider the similarities between their experiences and Malcolm X’s experience. Then, respond to the following question.

List at least two commonalities between the prisoners and Malcolm X and provide your opinion of their significance to American society. Did the prisoners or Malcolm X reveal insights that we should consider more closely as a country? Explain and be specific.

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Posted March 9, 2017 by tashak38 in category Uncategorized

About the Author

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area--Big Up to the East Bay

8 thoughts on “Response to “Learning to Read” Malcolm X and Alex Haley

  1. serge bustillos

    The first similarity is that both Malcolm X and the San Quentin prisoners is that they had a horrible child hood which led to imprisonment at an early age. Being so young and not having a fully developed thought process, Malcolm and these prisoners felt unwanted and where introduced to violence at an early age which inevitably led to prison. The second similarity is that Malcolm X and the prisoners in San Quentin decided to better themselves and get educated while they were in prison. At an young age most prisoners get discouraged seeing their whole life disappear right in front of them, so they end up committing more crimes in prison leading to a longer sentence. For Malcolm and these prisoners they decided to change their lives and take full reasonability for their actions, but learn from these actions and acknowledge the seriousness of the damage they’ve done. Malcolm X is an inspiration showing young kids in prison that there is hope, to never give up and continue to educate yourself.

  2. Erica Lew

    The men in San Quentin and Malcolm X have a few similarities, for example they both have done wrong in the past and resulted the men being put behind prison bars. Another great example is that both Malcolm X and the prisoner’s parents were not really in the picture, something about their parents effected them and that is what triggered most of their actions. One man in the video said that because he saw his mom get abused by his step father made him feel some way. After watching the video and seeing the men be so vulnerable opened my eyes and I was shocked to hear the words that came out of their mouth because in my head I would never think a murderer/ prisoner would come to the conclusion that they have done wrong and actually give advice to others. I believe that the men in the video and Malcolm X were emotionally hurt and felt some type of abandonment by the people they love and that is why they felt the urge to commit a crime. Malcolm X and the prisoners revealed the importance of self-love and that there is a chance to turn a negative past into a bright future. This shows that us as a country should help people that have gone through a rough past and give a second chance by giving opportunities and inviting the people that have committed a crime prove that they are capable of achiving good accomplishments.

  3. Seini R

    The two similarities that the San Quentin Prisoners and Malcolm X had was that, prison turned out to make a good impact on their lives. They also had unstable childhoods which led them to make bad choices that cost them to be put in prison. Since being put in prison was a ripple effect in their families, there was already a high chance that it was going to happen to them too. There was no one there to tell them right from wrong. They’re stories of how prison changed them could be used as a warning sign to kids in the American society who aren’t on the right paths. It also helps families who have children who were like the San Quentin Prisoners and Malcolm X, provide opportunities for them to have an outlet for hobbies, talents, to go to school and pursue a career. Making a choice to do better and not let their (San Quentin Prisoners/Malcolm X) surroundings dictate who they have the potential of being is another aspect Society can look at and be aware of. Seini R English 101A

  4. Samuel M

    The two similarities that I found between Malcolm X and the film that we watched are, they both did bad before they went to prison. And the second similarity is they all learned that what they did was wrong before they went to prison. Most of the prisoners from the film killed someone, not just because they wanted to do it but the way they grew up put a major impact on them. If they had the moral support from their families it would of made a difference in their actions. In Malcolm X he had a hard life growing up as well and did not receive the proper education that many other kids did and his family got separated after his father was murdered. But what they all have in common is they all realize once they are in prison is they can make a change. For the prisoners in the video they were able to join programs to help them. And in Malcolm X he went straight into reading and education so when he did get out he would be ready. In the end i feel that if kids have the same upbringing as the prisoners and see the film, they would realized they can make a change also.- Samuel Myers 101A

  5. Damon

    In my opinion, The two commonalities between the prisoners and Malcolm X is, for one point most of them committed the crime when they were teenagers, for another point they regretted and revised themselves to be better. For those prisoners in the video, frankly, most guys did the bad things and even committed the crime easily when they were young, called rebellious teenagers. For Malcolm X, in the article it expressed his love of reading, the best way to change and rebuild his life as an inmate, even in the bad condition of prison, he said “I saw that the best thing I could do was get hold of a dictionary to study, to learn some words.” What I thought is, Malcolm X showed reading drove him restart his life and gave him power as well one more chances to continue all of him.

  6. Julian Gomez

    Hello its Julan Gomez from your English 101A class. The two commonalities between the prisoners and Malcolm X is that they both were in prison for commiting a crime way back then. For the prisoners, My opinion is that they explained how they can be better people when they are in prison. In Malcolm X, he educated himself of learning a lot words in the dictionay by copying from it to help him understand it and when he read the documents/articles about human rights, he said “If the American black man will start thinking about human rights, and then start thinking of himself as part of one of the world’s great peoples, he will see he has a case of the United Nations.” For me, Malcolm X had the insights because when he reads and educated himself, it helps him to be a better person with a lot of itellegence.

  7. Zyna

    Much to my surprise there were a few similarities from the prisoners in San Quentin and “Learning to Read ” Malcolm X. The 1. Prisoners 2.found solace in reading. 3. awakening of wanting knowledge 4. bookworms in prison is ( ok) smiled upon. 5. Debates
    As I watched the short video of the prisoners of San Quentin expressing their vulnerability in the setting of such hopelessness in both cases I found to be hopeful, that these men are in some way attempting to learn what compassion is and giving back to the society they’ve wronged. I wasn’t surprised to read that Malcolm X read and copied words from the dictonary, hense his intellectual prowess being exceptional. Also being envious of Bimbi and wanting to emulate him did him a great service. Malcolm X says ” where else but in prison could I attack my ignorance ” this spoke to me it doesn’t matter where ,who,when responsibility for knowledge arises embrace, embrace.

  8. ornela

    The two similarities are: 1) they all went to prison. 2) they all went thru a lot as kid. The prisoners it was good for them for letting their feeling out like that to people, confessing their sin and taking responsibility for their actions. I feel that was good for american kid out there who are doing bad thing it will be eye open for then and even change the way the see things or think about it. Malcolm X prove to young teen out there that don’t ever giver up in life no matter how hard thing or change. I feel like Malcolm X story will change a lot of kid even young adult in america.


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