Malcolm's Education Shaped by White Supremacy

These sites include the three schools that Malcolm X attended during his time living in Lansing and the greater Lansing area. Malcolm was first enrolled at Pleasant Grove Elementary School for kindergarten in 1931. In 1939, around the age of 14, Malcolm began attending West Junior High School, however, he was expelled after leaving a thumbtack on his teacher's chair, and he was sent by the state to a detention home located in Mason, Michigan. In 1939, Malcolm was enrolled at Mason High School where he attended for his seventh and eighth grade years before dropping out and moving to Boston to live with his sister, Ella.

The course of Malcolm's education was primarily shaped by factors of white supremacy. When Malcolm's mother was sent to the Psychiatric Hospital in Kalamazoo, MI, and Malcolm's family was torn apart by the government, Malcolm's behavior in school worsened and he was sent by the state to the Swerlin's detention home located in Mason, MI. Around this time Malcolm was enrolled into Mason High School for his seventh and eighth grade years. At Mason, Malcolm faced further displays of white supremacy. For instance, when Malcolm told his English teacher, Mr. Otrowski, that he had aspirations of being a lawyer, Mr. Otrowski told him that he would never be able to accomplish this goal simply because he was African American. This discouraged Malcolm, led to a drop in his grades, and caused him to drop out of school and move to Boston. The practices of white supremacy that Malcolm faced throughout his early life clearly had a tremendous effect on him, and shaped the course of his education.

Pleasant Grove Elementary School

Malcolm enrolled in kindergarten at Pleasant Grove in the January of 1931. Malcolm and his family were the first to integrate into the all-white community of Lansing after moving to the area from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the school, Malcolm and his…

West Junior High School

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…

Mason High School

Although brief, the two years Malcolm Little spent at Mason High School were extremely influential to his perspective on race relations as his experience, especially his multiple confrontations with white supremacy, shaped his convictions and…