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Below are some reading passages that we have hand picked to supplement this book. Be sure to read the passage summaries and our suggestions for instructional use.

9th-10th Informational Text
America's Most Infamous Hate Group: The KKK
Jessica McBirney 2017
Passage Summary: In the informational text “America’s Most Infamous Hate Group: The KKK,” Jessica McBirney discusses the KKK’s various waves of activity and popularity in America.
When and How to Pair: Introduce this text before students begin reading the book, in order to provide background knowledge on the history of the Ku Klux Klan. Ask students to consider the impact that white supremacist organizations, like the Ku Klux Klan and the Black Legions, had on Malcolm's family and the lives of African Americans.
7th-8th Poem 970L
We Wear The Mask
Paul Laurence Dunbar 1913
Passage Summary: Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) was an influential African-American poet during the early twentieth century. He was the son of freed slaves and was a friend of Frederick Douglass. In “We Wear the Mask” (1896), Dunbar introduces the idea of hiding behind a metaphorical mask.
When and How to Pair: Introduce this poem after students complete Chapter Two: "Mascot," to help compare and contrast the speaker’s perspective in Dunbar’s poem to Malcolm’s perspective as a young man growing up in Michigan.
7th-8th Informational Text 1310L
Herd Behavior
CommonLit Staff 2014
Passage Summary: “Herd Behavior” describes how individuals can behave in a crowd. Without a clearly planned direction and little individual decision-making at work, do individuals become like cattle in a herd? Do people lose a sense of self when they are among others?
When and How to Pair: Teachers may choose to introduce this text after students read Chapter Three: ""Homeboy,"" in order to help students better analyze the choices that Malcolm makes once he arrives in Boston.
9th-10th Non-Fiction 1090L
A Defiant Muhammad Ali Was Cherished By Black Men
Karen Grigsby Bates 2016
Passage Summary: Muhammad Ali’s legacy as a symbol of courage and a challenge to the status quo is remembered in light of his passing.
When and How to Pair: Introduce this text after students finish reading Chapter Six: "Detroit Red." Then, have students compare the actions and motivations of Malcolm during World War II to the views of Muhammad Ali during the Vietnam War.
9th-10th Psychology 1490L
Is There a Cheater's High?
Romeo Vitelli, Ph.D. 2013
Passage Summary: In this article, Romeo Vitelli, Ph.D., examines people like Frank Abagnale, the con artist, to determine whether or not the act of cheating—and getting away with it—can be a positive motivator.
When and How to Pair: As Chapter 7: "Hustler" progresses, teachers may choose to introduce this text and allow students to evaluate whether a “cheater’s high” led Malcolm to continue to take greater risks as a criminal.
7th-8th Informational Text 1130L
Stanley Williams
CommonLit Staff 2015
Passage Summary: Stanley Tookie Williams III (1953-2005) was a leader of the Crips, an infamous gang that began in Los Angeles in 1969. He spent much of his life in prison. Today, he is well known for the writing that he did while in jail, which included anti-gang activist literature and children’s books. When he was executed in 2005, his death sparked controversy surrounding the death penalty.
When and How to Pair: Introduce this text to students after they have read Chapter 10: "Satan," and ask them to compare the experiences of Stanley Williams to those of Malcolm. How did prison impact these two men differently?
11th-12th Interview 1190L
Teaching Shakespeare in a Maximum Security Prison
Michel Martin 2013
Passage Summary: In this National Public Radio interview, Professor Laura Bates discusses her decision to teach Shakespeare in a maximum security prison as a way of educating inmates—and discovering new insights into the Bard’s drama.
When and How to Pair: Teachers may choose to introduce this text after students have read Chapter 11: "Saved" and ask them to compare the experiences that Malcolm had to those of Laura Bates and her students.
9th-10th Myth 1190L
The Myth of Daedalus and Icarus
Ovid 8 A.D.
Passage Summary: Ovid (43 BCE – 17/18 CE), or Publius Ovidius Naso, was a Roman poet best known for the Metamorphoses, which now remains an important source of classical mythology. In this classic myth, Daedalus attempts to escape imprisonment on the island of Crete by crafting a pair of wax wings for himself and his son, Icarus.
When and How to Pair: Introduce this text after students have read Chapter 15: "Icarus," and then ask students to evaluate whether or not Malcolm X was deserving of the title, “Icarus.”
7th-8th Psychology 1100L
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
CommonLit Staff 2015
Passage Summary: Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) was an American psychologist who wrote extensively about human behavior, motivations, and needs. This passage explores his best known work: the hierarchy of needs.
When and How to Pair: Introduce this text after students complete Chapter 17: "Mecca." Then, have students determine where Malcolm X sat on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. How has Malcolm’s relation to Maslow’s pyramid evolved throughout his life?
7th-8th Poem
If We Must Die
Claude McKay 1919
Passage Summary: Claude McKay (1889-1948) was a Jamaican-American writer and poet who was a seminal figure during the Harlem Renaissance. In this poem, McKay discusses facing death and other obstacles with courage and dignity, and reflects upon his perspective on the black experience during early 20th century America.
When and How to Pair: Have students read this poem after completing Chapter 19: "1965." Then, have students compare how Malcolm faced death to the way that the speaker in McKay’s poem faces death.