West Junior High School

Malcolm's last school in Lansing proper. After his expulsion, he moved to Mason, MI where he was placed in a detention home and continued his schooling.

In 1939 Malcolm X attended West Junior High School in Lansing, Michigan. He attended West junior High School around the age of fourteen. Although West Junior High School is still standing it no longer serves the purpose of a high school. It now houses the Lansing School District Administration. Even though the name of the building has changed that doesn’t change the impact West Junior High School has had on Malcolm X's early years.

When Malcolm was young his mother Louise Little was placed in the State Mental Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  During this time he and his siblings were separated and he was placed in foster care with Gohannas family. When Malcolm moved in with the Gohannas he switched from Mason High School to West Junior High School. In his autobiography he speaks about the area of West Junior High as being "...heart of the negro community..."(Malcom X, Autobiography, 24).  In Malcolm’s time with the Gohannas family he experimented with fishing and also boxing. Things he wasn’t accustomed to. It wasn't long before Malcolm realized boxing wasn’t for him, once he was beaten by a white boy and his reputation in his home neighborhood was ruin. The day after his boxing rematch with Bill Peterson, he went to school. As soon as he walked in the classroom with a hat on, his teacher ordered him to keep the hat on and to walk around the room until he told him to stop. "That way...everyone can see you. Meanwhile, we'll go on with class for those are here to learn something."(Malcolm X, Autobiography, 30) Not long after Malcolm was expelled from West Junior High School and kicked out of the Gohanna's home.

Everything a child experiences has some sort of impact on them later in life. At this point in Malcolm’s life he felt that he didn't have to learn and go to school. He was under the impression that he had no purpose. Although he grew up rough he did find his way through with the guidance of the Nation of Islam. All the things Malcolm thought he knew about his heritage and culture where taught to him by the white supremacy. The Nation of Islam gave him the confidence boost that he was lacking not just in himself but in his nationality (Malcolm X, Autobiography).

 

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