Iliteracy In Malcolm X's Prisoners Of Silence

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“At least twenty-five times I must have written that first one-page letter to him, over and over. I was trying to make it both legible and understandable. I practically couldn't read my handwriting myself; it shames even to remember it.” (Malcolm X 172). A simple, yet startling, reflection by Malcolm X an esteemed pillar of the civil rights movement. As he stared at his letter to Elijah Muhammad the embarrassment he that covered him did not deter him from his goal. The poor grammar and spelling along with what he himself describes as a form of chicken scratch scribbled on his paper. Motivated by this and other factors Malcolm began a journey of personal improvement. “In my slow, painstaking, ragged handwriting, I copied into my tablet everything …show more content…
Along with many others in the United States back then and now Malcolm X spent a good portion of his life illiterate. Surprisingly, illiteracy is more common than most truly realize. “In American society where words are so critical at least 25 million people are ‘functionally incompetent’” states Jeff Greenfield when referring to his article on “Prisoners of Silence: Breaking the Bonds of Adult Illiteracy in the United States” (Kozol 255). Unfortunately, the main issue propelling that dynamic remains unchanged. What is this problem that has plagued this country for many years? The answer is an impoverishment of which there are at least three main subcomponents. Race, economics, and disability, all of which fall under the umbrella of poverty. By gaining a better understand of these facets solutions can be implemented, with the potential, to improve the current and future state of illiteracy in …show more content…
Lack of resources can be handled within every community in the nation. Jonathan Kozol stated in an interview, with Jeff Prince, “I'm disappointed that I'm 60 years old now and I would have hoped by this point, 30 years since the death of Martin Luther King Jr., we would have ended the embarrassment of unequal school systems," as he considers money to be the solution (News 2). Funding is a major part of what is necessary to improve literacy among the citizens of this country. Increases in government, city, and state monies allocated for creating and improving resources that assist in helping people to read and write in English. Former senator Bob Dole was quoted “thousands of children [are] failing to learn the language, English, that is the ticket to the ‘American Dream’” (Jamieson 702). Additional finances will allow libraries and other public forums to promote educational events geared toward improving literacy. Government sponsorship for needy communities to improve the quality of life by helping to obtain and properly wield the tools for success. A similar philosophy should be heeded in regards to those with reading

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