What do you know about the movie, Malcolm X?

J. Reinoehl

Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

"Malcolm X" is the epic drama by Spike Lee, based on the "Autobiography of Malcolm X." Inducted into the U.S. National Film Registry in 2010, "Malcolm X" has historically received top reviews. How well do you remember Spike Lee's "Malcolm X"? Find out by taking this quiz!

At the beginning of the movie, black-and-white scenes of police were taken from which historical event?

The beating of Rodney King by police on March 3, 1991, was widely shown on news stations without the initial ten seconds (which showed King charging the police). Although King never advocated violence against police, many riots broke out across America as a result of the acquittal of the police officers involved. King had a criminal record before and after the incident and passed away June 17, 2012, from a drug overdose-drowning in his home swimming pool.

Where was Malcolm X born?

"When my mother was pregnant with me, a party of Klansman on horseback surrounded our house in Omaha, Nebraska. They brandished guns and shouted for my father to come out."

What was the name of the hairstyle Malcolm X got for the first time at the beginning of the movie in the barbershop?

The conk, short for the congolene applied to the hair, was popular from the 1920s until the natural hair of the 1960s appeared. The original mixture, which contained lye, burned and could also damage the hair and scalp. Modern hair relaxers are not as painful or damaging.

How did Malcolm's dad die in the movie?

"What do you mean took his own life? …A man takes a hammer and bashes in the back of his own head, then he lays down on the tracks and kills himself?"

What was Malcolm's nickname growing up?

Malcolm X had red-tinged hair from his mother's Scottish side. As a result, his friends called him "Red" in the movie.

Finish the quote: "When I was a kid, I was so poor ___________."

"When I was a kid, I was so poor, I used to think that 'not for sale' was a brand name."

What did Malcolm want to be when he grew up?

It is puzzling why Malcolm's teacher dissuaded him from becoming a lawyer, since the first recorded African-American lawyer, Macon Bolling Allen, joined the bar in 1844 in Maine. Allen went South after the Civil War and eventually became a judge in South Carolina.

What did Malcolm's teacher tell him he should be when he grew up?

"Now, I want you to think about something that you can be. You're good with your hands, making things. People would give you work. I would myself. Why don't you become a carpenter?"

What did Malcolm do when he worked on the train?

In the movie, he was a waiter on the train. In real life, Malcolm got a job on a train selling sandwiches to avoid the draft board and acted crazy to get a "Not qualified for service" designation of 4-F.

Who did Malcolm meet in the Harlem bar after leaving the train?

"Who is that?" "That's West Indian Archie."

When Malcolm got off the train in Harlem, which boxer were the crowds celebrating?

Joe Louis was signed as a professional boxer on a contract that stated he must both live and fight clean. It was a successful effort to win back an audience when the sport had been rife with fixed fights, inferior athletes and mafia control. The "Brown Bomber" was the longest reigning heavyweight champion to date in boxing history and won 68 of his 71 non-exhibition professional fights. Two of those wins were against Billy Conn—one in 1941 and the other in 1946.

What number did Malcolm want to play, but Archie forgot?

"I'm thinking about my money. Six big ones you owe me, Archie… 821. It hit, didn't it?"

When the West Indiana Archie comes for him, to which singer were Malcolm and Sophia listening?

Eleanora Fagan, or Billie Holiday (April 7, 1915—July 17, 1959), began her singing career in Harlem and got her big break when she replaced Monette Moore at Covan's. Some of her hit singles include, "Pennies From Heaven," "They Can't Take That Away from Me," and "Carelessly."

After being run out of Harlem, where did Malcolm go next?

"Boston's the best… place for you." "… I got a place fixed up for us in Harvard Square."

How did Malcolm get to be the leader of the robbery gang?

Malcolm admitted to running numbers, selling bootlegged liquor and dope, sleeping with prostitutes and pimping women. He stated he was a delinquent who found officials to be his best customers.

When the water didn't come out of the pipes while Shorty was doing Malcolm's hair, how did Malcolm get the straightener out of his hair?

From 1934-1968, the FHA was racially restrictive in the loans people could receive. This created an exodus from the city of Caucasians and a glut of slums where landlords charged African-Americans higher rents for overcrowded properties in disrepair. The movie never explains why the water didn't work (broken plumbing or unpaid bills are possible causes), but Malcolm had to rinse his head in the toilet as a result.

How many years in prison were Malcolm and Shorty sentenced to for burglary?

"Shorty thought he had hit us with over 100 years until I explained what 'concurrently' meant. It meant a minimum sentence of ten years hard labor at the Charlestown State Prison."

Why did Malcolm get placed in solitary at the prison?

"Okay, I'll give him a break. Now, state your number, Little."

What did Baines give Malcolm in prison to ease his withdrawal from drugs?

Nutmeg is highly toxic to animals and known to cause headaches, euphoria, nausea and hallucinations when taken by humans in large quantities. It is slow acting and several deaths have been attributed to it, primarily among pregnant women trying to cause self-induced abortions.

What was not something Baines listed as "white man's poison?"

"Cause the first thing a black man must have is respect for himself—respect his body and his mind. Quit taking the white man's poisons into his body: cigarettes; his dope; his liquor; his white women, his pork."

What sportsman did Baines complain was only "white man throw[ing] us a bone"?

Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson (January 31, 1919—October 24, 1972) is most noted for being the first African-American Major League baseball player in the 20th century. (Bud Fowler and Fleet Walker had preceded him in professional baseball during the 19th century.) Robinson was a non-violent contributor to the Civil Rights Movement and became president of Chock Full O' Nuts as well as a founder of the Freedom National Bank.

What was the hardest part of Islam for Malcolm to initially accept?

"But the key to Islam is submission. That is why five times daily, we turn to Mecca to pray, to bend our knees in submission." "I can't do that, Brother Baines."

Who did Malcolm have a vision of in his jail cell?

"I received a letter that day from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad… It was like a blinding light. I became aware that he was in the room with me."

To which Biblical figure did Elijah Muhammad compare Malcolm to, upon first meeting him?

Job was noted for his faithfulness to God, even when oppressed. Elijah Muhammad stated that by coming out of prison, the hedge of protection had been removed from Malcolm X in the same way that God removed it from Job.

"We didn't land on Plymouth Rock; ____________."

"We didn't land on Plymouth Rock; Plymouth Rock landed on us."

What was the name of the Muslim sect for which Malcolm became the spokesperson?

Wallace D. Fard Muhammad founded the Nation of Islam on July 4, 1930, in Detroit, MI. In 1931, he selected Elijah Muhammad to take over the organization, trained him for more than three years, and subsequently disappeared. The Nation of Islam did not gain widespread popularity until Malcolm X became its spokesperson.

Who did Malcolm go to the jail to see and make sure he was getting proper medical care?

"Well, until I'm satisfied that Brother Johnson is receiving proper medical care nobody will move… Get an ambulance—now!"

What was the ideal age, according to Elijah Muhammad, for a woman to be?

Although Elijah Muhammad was credited with this rule in the "Autobiography of Malcolm X," it can also be found in F. Hugh Herbert's play (1951) and film (1953): "The Moon Is Blue." Malcolm X eventually was kicked out of the Nation of Islam because he disapproved of Elijah Muhammad shunning women for adultery when Muhammad was the man involved with them.

What was the meaning of Malcolm X's name?

"During slavery time, the slave master… named the so-called Negro after themselves. But the Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us… We replace our slave name with an 'X,' 'X' in mathematics representing the unknown. Since we've been disconnected or cut off from our own history, our own past, our own culture, our own land, we use the 'X,' the unknown, until we get back to our country."

To which literary figure did Malcolm X compare other "Negro" leaders?

The original Uncle Tom was an upright character in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1853) and based upon the life of ex-slave Josiah Henson. In the original, Uncle Tom's master beat him to death for refusing to tell the location of runaway slaves. However, several derivative works appeared and many associate Uncle Tom with the negative figure portrayed in them.

What was the name of Malcolm's wife?

"Look, Betty, I just want peace. I want to sit here with you. I want to be still. I want peace in my house."

Where did Malcolm travel after his break with the Nation of Islam?

Mecca is a city in Saudi Arabia, credited with being the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and the site of his first revelation. All adult Muslims are required to carry out the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once in their lifetime if they have the means financially and physically.

What was Elijah Muhammad accused of that caused an argument between Malcolm and his wife?

"Both women in their twenties charge that they had intimacies with Mr. Muhammad." "You think I'm not aware of these accusations?"

Where was the place Malcolm X gave his final speech?

At approximately 3 P.M. on February 21, 1965, Thomas Hagan shot Malcolm X in the Audubon Ballroom at the corner of 166th St. and Broadway, which was later converted into the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center. Hagan was released in 2010, even though he still refused to give the names of the two to four other people who conspired with him.

What was shown in the movie right after Malcolm X was shot?

The hospital was nearby, across the street from the ballroom. Malcolm X was wheeled there on a gurney, and the footage from that point onward was actual historical footage instead of movie footage. Washington studied his role well, so the transition was seamless between actor and historical figure.

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