This is the reply to a question i received from a very inspiring woman, i hope i get to tell you about her.
This is probably the most difficult question I have had to answer, aside the cliché, “How are you?” There are just too many options. I haven’t read as much as I would have loved to but it’s still difficult. What exactly defines your favorite piece of writing? Should it be because of a certain emotional response such as pain, anguish, love, joy that it elicits? Should it be because to can relate? Should it be because of the recognition the song lyric, novel, poem has had? I think it should be what that piece of art means to you.
My favorite piece of writing has to be the Autobiography of Malcolm X as told by Alex Haley. Hitherto reading that book I just knew Malcom X by his iconic and popular pictures. He was just one of those “Civil Rights People”. Not being American, the issue of race was not such a passionate matter around, but the book opened me up to a whole new world. A world where a widow does not receive her husband’s life insurance because, somehow, he manages to fall in front of a speeding locomotive train. A world where a young boy is told he can’t be a lawyer because of the color of her skin. A world that fails to find solutions to the problem it creates. That’s basically the world we live in but I was blind to.
Malcom or El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, talks about the white man with so much hate, which is quite understandable giving the circumstances in his life. But the book, like the great man, should not be misunderstood. He is a person that didn’t resist change or knowledge. A person who used whatever skills life gave him to survive. Be it a hustler on the streets on Harlem or in prison or on a stage, ‘emancipating his people from mental slavery’. The impact he had and continues to have on human life is immeasurable. He sparked a sense of consciousness and mental awareness in to life of the black man in America. I love the book for introducing him to me.
The main reason why it is my favorite piece of writing is because it taught me to believe in myself. Before reading it, I dreamt of being great but I didn’t within me feel I could actually do it. Reading about Malcolm Little transform form a police-dodging hustler and drug addict into one of the most influential men of his time made me believe. I am as good as I want to be and work hard to be. I also love the book because it showed me the power of knowledge, whose principal source is books. There are other sources but books are the easiest to access and understand. Whilst in prison, Malcolm was fortunate to find Allah and fight his addictions, altering the course of his life. He used a lot of his time to educate himself, reading books on economics, history, religion, politics, and the dictionary. In those books he found the fuel that powered him to become who he became. The world is an amazing place but we are lost without knowledge of it and its operation. Books are the prime source of this knowledge
My favorite quote of the books is
“From Lagos, Nigeria, I flew on to Accra, Ghana.
I think that nowhere is the black continent’s wealth and the natural beauty of its people richer than in Ghana, which is so proudly the very fountainhead of Pan-Africanism.”
I only like this because I am Ghanaian.
The Autobiography of Malcom X is my favorite piece of writing because it steered me into the right direction.