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Free Study Guide-The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X-Free Notes
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Chapters 12 & 13

Summary (continued)

After establishing the temple at Boston, Malcolm went to Philadelphia to set up a Temple. From here he was sent to (by his leader) to Harlem to start the work of the Nation. In Harlem, he took time off to visit his old friends. However he learned that Sammy was dead (due to an overdose of drugs). And that West Indian Archie was at his death bed. Malcolm goes to meet him at his apartment and tells him about his work in the Nation of Islam. Malcolm remembered Archie to be a huge giant of a man. However, the man he meets now has changed drastically due to prolonged illness. Archie listens to Malcolm quietly. Malcolm also tells him about his life in prison. Archie seemed to be happy at the way things had worked out for Malcolm. Malcolm could not help feeling sad for his friend for he knew that Archie will not live very long. As he leaves he offers whatever money he has with him to Archie. Archie is reluctant to take it. But Malcolm persuades him to accept the money.

Due to Malcolm's missionary zeal in recruiting black members, the Harlem Temple grew. The advantage that Malcolm had was that he knew the Psychology of the youth here and also their peculiar slang language. While Malcolm worked in the Harlem Temple, he frequently went in and around New York to help organize other Temples. According to Malcolm, one of the barriers, he faced while recruiting new members, was the strict moral code of the Nation. Most blacks he approached did not wish to give up so much for their religion.

As the Harlem Temple grew, several old members were given responsibility to run classes where new members were trained. Among them was a young nurse called Sister Betty. Malcolm was attracted to her. But he never approached her directly or even expressed his feelings to her. Malcolm's past experience with women had made him rather cynical. Therefore he always preferred to stay away from the members of the opposite sex.


Although he took some time to accept his feelings towards Betty, he finally overcomes his inhibitions. In January 1958, he called Betty and proposed to her over the phone. While recalling this incident Malcolm says that Betty somehow was aware of his feelings towards her. For she did not seem surprised, when he proposed to her. Without hesitating she accepted his proposal. They had a quiet wedding with Mr. Muhammad's approval and blessings. The event was so sudden that it came as a surprise to not only the members of his family but also of the organization.

Immediately after his wedding, Malcolm becomes busy with his work to help strengthen and broaden the Nation. Around this time, Malcolm was giving a speech at the Boston Temple. At he end of his speech, he as usually asked: "Who among you wish to follow the Honorable Elijah Muhammad?" To his astonishment, among the ones who stood up was his sister Ella. Ella had made the decision after five long years.

Malcolm relates an incident, which brings the hitherto unknown Nation of Islam into public prominence. It was an incident, which nobody in the Nation had anticipated at all. It happened one night in Harlem. During a street scuffle, the police intervened. In doing so, the white cops beat up John Hinton, an innocent passerby. He was a Black Muslim from Temple Seven. They beat him so badly that his scalp was split open, and his face was covered with blood. Another member of the Nation, who witnessed the gory incident, called up at the restaurant where the Nation members used to meet.

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