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The first chapter reveals the characters of three very important people in Malcolm's life; His father, mother and Marcus Garvey. His mother and father obviously had a deep influence on him. Marcus Garvey has an effect, though indirectly, through the Garvey movement and the meetings Malcolm attended with his father. Both Earl Little and Louise Little were extremely brave and determined people. This, the reader can infer from the way the two face the threats of the Ku Klux Klan.
The same determination helps Louise keep her family together after her husband's shocking death and through the difficult Depression years. Malcolm admits that he had inherited his mother's instinctive feelings (to anticipate events) along with her light color and hair. From the chapter, the reader can conclude that the Little family, though forced to break up due to financial problems, was very close and loving. This is evident from the fact that the siblings kept in touch with each other after the breakup, wrote to each other, and found time to meet their ailing mother at Kalamazoo.
These close family ties help Malcolm to get through the most difficult phase of his life, his imprisonment (as we will see later in the book).
Another aspect that is highlighted in the chapter is the color prejudice. Not only were the whites extremely prejudiced against the blacks then; the blacks themselves believed that anything white or close to white is better. This is evident from Malcolm's own father's attitude towards him compared to his siblings. Malcolm says that his father was never harsh or violent with him, although his other siblings were very often beaten for bad behavior. Moreover, he was the only one who was taken to the secret meetings organized by his father. This also reveals the rather strange split in Earl Little's personal and professional life i.e. his zealous work in Marcus Garvey's cause to promote Black Nationalism and pride on the one hand and his (biased) love for his son because he is the lightest among his siblings.
Finally the statement made at the end of the chapter: 'I truly believe that if ever a state social agency destroyed a family, it destroyed ours', is a critique of the Welfare Department in the U.S. then. Its role in breaking Malcolm's family is a classic example of how a social agency set up for the 'welfare' of the less privileged in society can turn into something quite opposite, due to unnecessary interference in personal family matters.