Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Exploration 4 Malcolm X by Joe Campanella

Part 1.
The video and discussions provided me a brief overview of some of the courageous young men and women willing to give their lives for their cause. Segregation, especially in the deep south, was a major problem and a threat to the justice of African-Americans and minorities all throughout the country. Freedom rides, sit-ins, and bus-boycotts all played a major role in putting the spotlight on the horrors of segregation. These brave young men and women used non-violent tactics and would give up everything they had to see segregation and racism end. Some would even go to prison if they had to. In the film, "Ain't Scared of Your Jails", Frederick Leonard describes his experiences in prison for peacefully protesting against injustice. He says in an interview, "So we did a lot of singing, praying too, but a lot of singing. And the guards just couldn't understand how we could be happy." Despite going to jail, the protesters knew what they were doing was right. They also knew that change was coming.
Malcolm X was an African-American leader and Muslim during the Civil Rights Movement. He believed in black nationalism and joined the Nation of Islam. His movement and teachings were considered radical in relation to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He believed in liberating the oppressed "by any means necessary", including violence. After converting to the Muslim faith, Malcolm X joined a group called the Nation of Islam. A group that promotes black pride and self-reliance in society. Malcolm X and the leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad became close and Malcolm ultimately became a spokesman and minister of the organization. Malcolm X ends up splitting with the Nation of Islam due to political indifferences. He then converts to traditional Islam after realizing that Muslims of all races should strive for peace and anti-separatism. The Nation of Islam ultimately assassinates him after he changed his beliefs from radicalism to peace and coexistence.

Part 2.
In the short chapter "Friends", of the novel "The Things They Carried", Lee Strunk and Dave Jensen have made a pact to work together after the incident with the fistfight. They both learn to trust each other in the perils of combat. But the pact they both agreed to, entails that if one gets seriously injured, the other will kill to put him out of his misery. Towards the end of the chapter, Strunk gets his leg blown off and is in serious condition. When Strunk is carried away into the chopper, Jensen is relieved to know that he had died. This is powerful to me because they are on the same side of battle, yet despise each other so much. The author clearly depicts that wartime is chaos and destruction and that it can be very hard to determine morality and character.
In the longer chapter "How to Tell a True War Story", O'Brien tells us that a true war story is not moral and not to believe one that seems moral. O'Brien states that a true war story's moral cannot be separated from the story itself. The part of the chapter that stood out to me was what he felt when he entered a firefight. He describes the fear of death but also a strong sense of life. O'Brien uses the term "balance" of emotions between feeling very alive and a fear of dying.


  1. I found it interesting that Jensen was relieved when he learns Strunk is dead. I didn't know if it was because he didn't like Strunk or that he didn't want Strunk to suffer.

  2. I want to know what part of the religion made Malcolm X ultimately convert when he had been with the Nation of Islam for so long

  3. The sect of Islam he converted to after leaving the Nation of Islam was Sunni. It was known for being more traditional and nonviolent compared to the NOI.


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