spur on or encourage especially by cheers and shouts
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.
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.”
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.
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.
a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he or she does not hold in order to conceal his or her real feelings or motives
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
the trait of displaying arrogance by patronizing those considered inferior
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.
an unshakable belief in something without need for proof or evidence
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.
the social class between the lower and upper classes
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.”
a poor densely populated city district occupied by a minority ethnic group linked together by economic hardship and social restrictions
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.
an inoffensive or indirect expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive or too harsh
“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.