become upsetTheyused as a reason for my transfer that I refused to take some kind of shots, an inoculation or somethingThe only thing that worried me was that I hadn't much time left before I would be eligible for parole-board considerationBut I reasoned that they might look at my representing and spreading Islam in another way: instead of keeping me in they might want to get me outI had come to prison with 20/20 visionBut when I got sent back nike free powerlines II to Charlestown, I had read so muchby the lights-out glow in my room at the Norfolk Prison Colony that I had astigmatism and the firstpair of the eyeglasses that I have worn ever sinceI had less maneuverability back in the much stricter Charles-town PrisonBut I found that a lot ofNegroes attended a Bible class, and I went thereConducting the class was a tall, blond, blue-eyed (a perfect "devil") Harvard Seminary studentHelectured, and then he started in a question-and-answer sessionI don't know which of us had read theBible more, he or I, but I had to give him credit; he really was heavy on his religionI puzzled andpuzzled for a way to upset him, and to give those Negroes present something to think and talk aboutand circulateFinally, I put up my hand; he noddedHe had talked about PaulI stood up and asked, "What color was Paul?" And I kept talking, with pauses, "He had to be blackbecause he was a Hebrewand the original Hebrews were blackweren't they?"He had started flushing redYou know the way white people doHe said "Yes"I wasn't through yet"What color was Jesushe was Hebrew, toowasn't he?"Both the Negro and the white convicts had sat bolt uprightI don't care how tough the convict, be hebrainwashed black Christian, or a "devil" white Christian, neither of them is ready to hear anybodysaying Jesus wasn't whiteThe instructor walked aroundHe shouldn't have felt badIn all of the yearssince, I never have met any intelligent white man who would try to insist that Jesus was whiteHowcould they? He said, "Jesus was brown"I let him get away with that compromiseExactly as I had known it would, almost overnight the Charlestown convicts, black and white, beganbuzzing with the storyWherever I went, I could feel the noddingAnd anytime I got a chance toexchange words with a black brother in stripes, I'd say, "My manYou ever heard about somebodynamed MrElijah Muhammad?" During the spring of nineteen fifty-two I joyously nike free powerlines wrote Elijah Muhammad and my family that the Massachusetts State Parole Board had voted that I should be releasedBut still a few months weretaken up with the red tape delay of paper work that went back and forth, arranging for my parolerelease in the custody of my oldest brother, Wilfred, in Detroit, who now managed a furniture storeWilfred got the Jew who owned the store to sign a promise that upon release I would be givenimmediate employmentBy the prison system wire, I heard that Shorty also was up for paroleBut Shorty was having troublegetting some reputable person to sign for him(Later, I found out that in prison Shorty had studiedmusical compositionHe had even progressed to writing some pieces; one of them I know he named"The Bastille Concerto")My going to Detroit instead of back to Harlem or Boston was influenced by my family's feelingexpressed in their lettersEspecially my sister Hilda had stressed to me that although I felt Iunderstood Elijah Muhammad's teachings, I had much to learn, and I ought to come to Detroit andbecome a member of a temple of practicing MuslimsIt was in August when they gave me a lecture, a cheap Li'l Abner suit, and a small amount of money,and I walked out of the gateI never looked back, but that doesn't make me any different from amillion inmates who have left a prison behind themThe first stop I made was at a Turkish bathI got some of that physical feeling of prison-taint steamedoff meElla, with whom I stayed only overnight, had also agreed that it would be best for me to startagain in DetroitThe police in a new city wouldn't have it in for me; that was Ella's consideration-notthe Muslims, for whom Ella had no useBoth Hilda and Reginald had tried to work on EllaBut Ella,with her strong will, didn't go for it at allShe told me that she felt anyone could be whatever hewanted to be, Holy Roller, Seventh Day Adventist, or whatever it was, but she wasn't going to becomeany air max 1 MuslimHilda, the next morning, gave me some money to put in my pocketBefore I left, I went out andbought three things I remember wellI bought a better-looking pair of eyeglasses than the pair theprison had issued to me; and I bought a suitcase and a wrist watchI have thought, since, that without fully knowing it, I was preparing for what my life was about tobecomeBecause those are three things I've used more than anything elseMy eyeglasses correct theastigmatism that I got from all the reading in prisonI travel so much now that my wife keepsalternate suitcases packed so that, when necessary, I can just grab oneAnd you won't find anybodymore time-conscious than I amI live by my watch, keeping appointmentsEven when I'm using mycar, I drive by my watch, not my speedometerTime is more important to me than distanceI caught a bus to DetroitThe furniture store that my brother Wilfred managed was right in the blackghetto of Detroit; I'd better not name the store, if I'm going to tell the way they robbed NegroesWilfred introduced me to the Jews who owned the storeAnd, as agreed, I was put to work, as asalesman"Nothing Down" advertisements drew poor Negroes into that store like flypaperIt was a shame, theway they paid three and four times what the furniture had cost, because they could get credit fromthose JewsIt was the same kind of cheap, gaudy-looking junk that you can see in any of the blackghetto furniture stores todayFabrics were stapled on the sofasImitation "leopard skin" bedspreads,"tiger skin" rugs, such stuff as thatI would see clumsy, work-hardened, calloused hands scrawlingand scratching signatures on the contract, agreeing to highway-robbery interest rates in the fine printthat never was readI was seeing in real life the same point made in a joke that during the 1964 Presidential campaign Jetmagazine reported that Senator Barry Goldwater had told somewhereIt was that a white man, aNegro, and a Jew were given one wish eachThe white man asked for securities; the Negro asked for alot of money; the Jew asked for some imitation jewelry "and that colored boy's address"In all my years in the streets, I'd been looking at the exploitation that for the first time I really saw andunderstoodNow I watched brothers entwining themselves in the economic clutches of the white manwho went home air max 90 every night with another bag of the money drained out of the ghettoI saw that themoney, instead of helping the black man, was going to help enrich these white merchants, whousually lived in an "exclusive" area where a black man had better not get caught unless he workedthere for somebody whiteWilfred invited me to share his home, and gratefully I acceptedThe warmth of a home and a familywas a healing change from the prison cage for meIt would deeply move almost any newly freedconvict, I thinkBut especially this Muslim home's atmosphere sent me often to my knees to praiseAllahMy family's letters while I was in prison had included a description of the Muslim homeroutine, but to truly appreciate it, one had to be a part of the routineEach act, and the significance ofthat act, was gently, patiently explained to me by my brother WilfredThere was none of the morning confusion that exists in most homesWilfred, the father, the familyprotector and provider, was the first to rise"The father prepares the way for his family," he saidHe,then I, performed the morning ablutionsNext came Wilfred's wife, Ruth, and then their children, sothat orderliness prevailed in the use of the bathroom"In the name of Allah, I perform the ablution," the Muslim said aloud before washing first the righthand, then the left handThe teeth were thoroughly brushed, followed by three rinsings of the mouthThe nostrils were also rinsed out thriceA shower then completed the whole body's purification inreadiness for prayerEach  
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