WORD LISTS

"The Autobiography of Malcolm X," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-4

February 12, 2014
As you read "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," learn these word lists: Chapters 1-4, Chapters 5-9, Chapters 10-13, Chapters 14-19
dedicated
My father, the Reverend Earl Little, was a Baptist minister, a dedicated organizer for Marcus Aurelius Garvey’s U.N.I.A.
exhort
With the help of such disciples as my father, Garvey, from his headquarters in New York City’s Harlem, was raising the banner of black-race purity and exhorting the Negro masses to return to their ancestral African homeland—a cause which had made Garvey the most controversial black man on earth.
revile
Soon, nearly everywhere my father went, Black Legionnaires were reviling him as an “uppity nigger” for wanting to own a store, for living outside the Lansing Negro district, for spreading unrest and dissension among “the good niggers.”
harass
I told them how East Lansing harassed us so much that we had to move again, this time two miles out of town, into the country.
belligerent
My father was also belligerent toward all of the children, except me.
afflicted
I actually believe that as anti-white as my father was, he was subconsciously so afflicted with the white man’s brainwashing of Negroes that he inclined to favor the light ones, and I was his lightest child.
mulatto
It came directly from the slavery tradition that the “mulatto,” because he was visibly nearer to white, was therefore “better.”
complacent
By that I mean that I don’t know a town with a higher percentage of complacent and misguided so-called “middle-class” Negroes—the typical status-symbol-oriented, integration-seeking type of Negroes.
militant
I knew that the collections my father got for his preaching were mainly what fed and clothed us, and he also did other odd jobs, but still the image of him that made me proudest was his crusading and militant campaigning with the words of Marcus Garvey.
redemption
“No one knows when the hour of Africa’s redemption cometh. It is in the wind. It is coming. One day, like a storm, it will be here.”
menial
Mr. Lyons had been a famous football star at Mason High School, was highly thought of in Mason, and consequently he now worked around that town in menial jobs.
ignorant
She would speak sharply to the man at the grocery store for padding the bill, telling him that she wasn’t ignorant, and he didn’t like that.
deterioration
Some kind of psychological deterioration hit our family circle and began to eat away our pride.
destitute
Perhaps it was the constant tangible evidence that we were destitute.
hypocrite
She was the one who, years later, would tell me something that I remembered a long time: “Malcolm, there’s one thing I like about you. You’re no good, but you don’t try to hide it. You are not a hypocrite.”
ridicule
Whites have always hidden or justified all of the guilts they could by ridiculing or blaming Negroes.
disintegrate
Right then was when our home, our unity, began to disintegrate.
chastise
The woman who had brought me into the world, and nursed me, and advised me, and chastised me, and loved me, didn’t know me.
novice
They matched me with a white boy, a novice like myself, named Bill Peterson.
humiliation
But the worst of my humiliations was my younger brother Reginald’s attitude: he simply never mentioned the fight.
deportment
With my deportment record, I wasn’t really shocked when the decision came that I had been expelled.
condescension
This is the sort of kindly condescension which I try to clarify today, to these integration-hungry Negroes, about their “liberal” white friends, these so-called “good white people”—most of them anyway.
conviction
He may stand with you through thin, but not thick; when the chips are down, you’ll find that as fixed in him as his bone structure is his sometimes subconscious conviction that he’s better than anybody black.
adept
Anyway, from my experience as a little boy at the Lansing school, I had become fairly adept at avoiding the white-girl issue—at least for a couple of years yet.
plight
It was easier than my mother’s plight, with eight of us always underfoot or running around.
feign
I couldn’t have feigned indifference if I had tried to.
bourgeoisie
I’ve often thought that if Mr. Ostrowski had encouraged me to become a lawyer, I would today probably be among some city’s professional black bourgeoisie, sipping cocktails and palming myself off as a community spokesman for and leader of the suffering black masses, while my primary concern would be to grab a few more crumbs from the groaning board of the two-faced whites with whom they’re begging to “integrate.”
ghetto
This was the snooty-black neighborhood; they called themselves the “Four Hundred,” and looked down their noses at the Negroes of the black ghetto, or so-called “town” section where Mary, my other half-sister, lived.
migrate
Then the native-born New Englanders among them looked down upon recently migrated Southern home-owners who lived next door, like Ella.
euphemism
“I’m with an old family” was the euphemism used to dignify the professions of white folks’ cooks and maids who talked so affectedly among their own kind in Roxbury that you couldn’t even understand them.
transformation
I’d seen some pretty conks, but when it’s the first time, on your own head, the transformation, after the lifetime of kinks, is staggering.
connoisseur
They never had seen the feather-lightness that she gave to Undying, a completely fresh style—and they were connoisseurs of styles.
pummel
If a showtime crowd liked your performance, when you came off you were mobbed, mauled, grasped, and pummeled like the team that’s just taken the series.
notorious
The next time I saw her, she was a wreck of a woman, notorious around black Roxbury, in and out of jail.
defy
Defying her grandmother, she had started going out late and drinking liquor.

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Wednesday February 26th, 7:59 PM
Comment by: Lyn A. (OR)
Many short, but powerful words in this list.

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