In "My First Conk", written with Alex Haley by Malcolm X, he first describes the process of conking his hair when he goes to get the long list of items so that Shorty can make the congolene. cupped my hand against the outside, and snatched it away. that’s the lye,” he said. burns bad. The congolene turned pale-yellowish. 1. rubber apron. This hairstyle called for a man with naturally "kinky" hair to have it chemically straightened using a relaxer (sometimes the pure corrosive chemical lye), so that the newly straightened hair could be styled in specific ways. Our first Hair History story comes from Civil Rights Leader Malcolm X. My knees were trembling. A conk is a hairstyle that is oftentimes used by men with curly hair. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. English. Afro hair was chemically straightened with a … He was and still is considered an advocate for African Americans of his time and even today. In his own sometimes unintentional pursuit, Malcolm was a man of many phases. In response to his decision of … I couldn’t stand it any longer; I I was cursing Shorty with every name I could think of Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. In Malcolm X’s excerpt My First Conk, He describes the process to get a conk.He talks about how his friend will do it for free instead of paying for it. He had promised to school me in how to beat the … He peeled the potatoes and thin-sliced them into a quart-sized Mason fruit jar, then started stirring them with a wooden spoon as he gradually poured in a little over half the can of lye. It is only after Malcolm converts to the Nation of Islam and gains confidence in himself as a black man that he understands the conk in this way. I feel through this essay he was able to describe the steps of getting a conk. In his Autobiography simply entitled” The Autobiography of Malcolm X,”  he shares his recipe for his “first conk.”. The style was popular among African American men … The comb felt as if it was raking my skin off. 47% average accuracy. Conk hair can be pulled up into a quiff style at the front of the head. He reflects later that this was his first “step towards self-degradation,” as he attempted to look white by enduring so much pain just to have straight hair. conks, but when it’s the first time, on your own head, the transformation, after MALCOLM'S FIRST CONK HAIRSTYLE In 1920s America, a new hairstyle known as the “conk” swept through the African American community. bolted to the washbasin. You got a good conk.”, I could feel him combing, straight back, first the big comb, then the fine-. Malcolm X and the Conk Due No Due Date Points 0; Directions: Read the following passage on Conk then complete the warmup in your daybook. This is also known as lye or a relaxer to modern times. A black man is denouncing pride by wearing a conk; Malcolm X points out a conk … Nowadays we call this hair straightening process getting a relaxer, but back in Malcolm's day he got a conk. But the longer you can stand it, the straighter the hair.”, He made me sit down, and he tied the string of the new rubber apron tightly I spent the first month in town with my mouth hanging open. Black men, he thinks, are so desperate to be like white men, who have better jobs, more wealth, and more rights than them, that they will undergo a painful procedure to have hair that looks like that of a white person. Hair History: “My First Conk” Natural High is starting a new series of Hair History stories and facts. “Now, you watch me —”. I’d seen some pretty He starts to grow his hair out so that he can “, Finally, Malcolm’s hair is long enough to be, ...get all of the relaxant out, dries him off, and shows him his brand new, Malcolm is in love with his new hair and vows to never go without a, ...zoot suit, which he chooses very carefully and purchases on credit. Shorty broke in the two eggs, stirring real fast — his own conk and dark face bent He lathered and spray-rinsed, lathered and spray-rinsed, maybe ten or twelve times, each time gradually closing the hot-water faucet, until the rinse was cold, and that helped some. Malcolm wants to get his hair conked in an attempt to have a more “white” style of hair. How self love has evolved into a celebration for us all to enjoy? My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”, Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ballantine Books edition of. sized white potatoes. head, be sure to tell me any-where you feel any little stinging,” Shorty warned In later years he got the nickname of ‘Detroit Red’ because of Malcolm x hair color. Start studying Malcolm X Recalls Getting a "conk". Then at a drugstore near the poolroom, I asked for a large Conk Hair, Goodwood. He draped the towel around my shoulders, over my rubber apron, and began again vaselining my hair. The conk therefore symbolizes both a racial hierarchy that puts whites above blacks and an unawareness by some African Americans of just how deep that racist ideology goes even within their own psychology. My first conk is an autograph of Malcolm X stating that he dislikes how black people undergo pain when they try to change their hair in order to look like the white people. Boutique hair salon for the whole family. “Sit back down, then. I couldn't get over marveling at how their hair was straight and shiny like white men's hair; Ella told me this was called a "conk.”, Instant downloads of all 1396 LitChart PDFs Hair Hair from The Autobiography of Malcolm X Malcolm X with Alex Haley Shorty soon decided that my hair was finally long enough to be conked. My First Conk Malcolm Essay My First Malcolm Essay Conk Which they are dressed as if they are of the same status and using conk to achieve a similar hair style opinions, Malcolm X seems to be an unlikely … Then. You get used to it better before long. ... What word best describes Malcolm's attitude toward his conk … This was my first really big step toward self-degradation, ==================================================================================================================. The sharp dressed young "cats" who hung on the corners and in the poolrooms, bars and restaurants, and who obviously didn't work anywhere, completely entranced me. Yes, his hair. While Malcolm X left his mark in history. Then, from the big vaseline jar, he around my neck, and combed up my bush of hair. I think we got it all out okay.” The conk, (derived from congolene, a hair straightener gel … The conk symbolizes to him the adherence to the … I feel as though Malcolm X’s choice of telling his story via a process essay was effective. Teachers and parents! You, took it real good, homeboy. Natural High is starting a new series of Hair History stories and facts. This post is all about his hair. Once Malcolm reaches this conclusion, he sees the conk as a badge of shame; however, the person wearing it is usually unaware of their subconscious self-hatred. The following excerpt from that book describes the painful and painstaking process many African-American men once endured to achieve a style of straight hair called a “ conk … I They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. Learn how your comment data is processed. He got his red hair color from his white grandfather who was Scottish. Malcolm is in love with his new hair and vows to never go without a conk again. With his earnings, he buys his first zoot suit, a flamboyant outfit fashionable on the street. Malcolm X further dicusses the self hatred that went on daily during his time and how impressive conks make African Americans feel . a grocery store, where I got a can of Red Devil lye, two eggs, and two medium- In the reading "Hair" Malcolm X gives a detailed writing of when he first conked his hair. The conk (derived from congolene, a hair straightener gel made from lye) was a hairstyle popular among African-American men from the 1920s to the 1960s. Your email address will not be published. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Since then, conking hair has become synonymous with relaxing hair so it appears straight and smooth. “No,” I managed to say. He then goes on to list the items they need to buy to make the “congolene” to make the conk… Required fields are marked *. “The first time’s always worst. Here is an excerpt from his Autobiography: Shorty soon decided that my hair was finally long enough to be conked1. Malcolm X was one of the many black Americans who uses a conk to straighten his hair to look like a white man. down close. “Never use a metal spoon; the lye will turn it black,” he told me. He explains how silly he was to want to change is hair to feel superior. Also here is a clip of a reenactment of his first conk in Spike Lee’s Biography film Malcolm X, starring Denzel Washington and Spike Lee as Shorty. Quiff. ** starts at 4:09. During Malcolm’s younger years in Boston and Harlem, he maintained a “conk” hairstyle, which was a way of chemically relaxing naturally kinky hair. I proudly told, The congolene just felt warm when Shorty started combing it in. Often, the relaxer was made at home, by mixing lye, eggs, and potatoes, the applier having to wear gloves and the receiver's head having to be rin… The conk was a major plot device in Spike Lee's film biography Malcolm X, based upon Malcolm X's own condemnation of the hairstyle as black self-degradation in his autobiography because of its … “Damn right, it’s hot, Shorty paid six dollars a week for a room in his cousin’s shabby apartment. A conk also known as a ” congolene” was a popular hairstyle among African Americans in the 1930’s to mid 1960’s. There are many examples of how Malcolm X uses rhetorical appeals in this passage for example:"Going to lay that first conk… It also showed how each steps led to the end result of a conk hair … 10th - University grade. When Shorty let me stand up and see in the mirror, my hair hung down in limp, damp strings. The style fell out of popularity when the Black Power movement of the 1960s took hold, and the Afro became a popular symbol of African pride. While he needs no introduction here is a small background on his history. We both were grinning and sweating. took a handful and massaged it hard all through my hair and into the scalp. Hair, "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" DRAFT. At the age of 15, he straightened his hair and got himself a then-popular hairstyle named ‘Conk’. He Your email address will not be published. when he got the spray going and started soap lathering my head. Rather, the style is motivated by a deep sense of racial inferiority and adoration for everything white. The way the content is organized. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. -Graham S. The timeline below shows where the symbol The “Conk” appears in, ...all the cool cats who stand around in their fancy suits and with their hair “, ...late into the night. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. jar of vaseline, a large bar of soap, a large-toothed comb, and a fine-toothed (including. “You always got to remember that any congolene left in burns a sore The style was popular among African American men from the 1920s to the 1960s, despite the risk of chemical burns and the high amount of care necessary to maintain it. In his later years, as he reflects back on his youth and the culture of the “cool cats,” Malcolm no longer sees this as simply an aesthetic choice. Malcolm X was a human rights activist, public speaker and minister in the 1950’s and early 60’s. the lifetime of kinks, is staggering. pair of gloves. opinions, Malcolm X seems to be an unlikely victim of blind conformity. Services include mens, ladies and kids cuts, colour services, hair extensions, hair smoothing treatments. 90 times. Malcolm begins to shoot craps, play cards, gamble, drink, smoke, and use drugs. The mirror reflected Shorty behind me. I feel that this writing style fit the essay well. My eyes watered, my nose was running. The conk was a major plot device in Spike Lee's film biography Malcolm X, based upon Malcolm … 3. “So you know it’s going to burn when I comb it in — it What did the conk symbolize to him at the time he got it? “Going to lay on that first conk?” the drugstore man asked me. I gritted my teeth and tried to pull the sides of the kitchen table together. Conk Nowadays we call this hair straightening process getting a relaxer, but back in Malcolm's day he got a conk. Malcolm X explains the conk … into your head.”. What are your thoughts on how times have changed? The conk symbolizes the want in black Americans to be white because of the stereotype … Malcolm thought that conking ones' hair was a step into "sophistication". Our, "Sooo much more helpful than SparkNotes. A hair straghting procedure 1b.Why did Malcolm X want to get his hair conked? The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. The “conk” was a popular hairstyle for Black hair that began in the 1950s. Relaxers … Struggling with distance learning? In this tone, Malcolm is a youth and, invariably, becomes a product of the street culture. My first view in the mirror blotted out the hurting. 1c. The conk hairdo is a hairstyle for African-American men which involves the use of a chemical relaxer to straighten the hair. But then my. Lee illustrates the changes through his names (Malcolm Little, Red, Satan, Malcolm X, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz), through changes in his grooming (natural hair, conk… Our first Hair History story comes from Civil Rights Leader Malcolm X. also thickly vaselined my neck, ears and forehead. Edit. My scalp still flamed, but not as badly; I could bear it. The flame came back as Shorty, with a thick towel, started drying my head. chegreen. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. “When I get to washing out your Background on conks and other African-American hair styles: The Autobiography of Malcolm X (written with Alex Haley) was published in 1964. “It’s like the pad’s mine, he spends so much time with his woman,” Shorty said. His cousin wasn’t at home. “Easy, man, easy!” I kept shouting. While he needs no … This hairstyle was immensely popular in the 1920s through the 1960s, before fading out as a result of a rise of interest in celebrating African heritage and the look of more naturally styled black hair. During Malcolm ’s younger years in Boston and Harlem, he maintained a “conk” hairstyle, which was a way of chemically relaxing naturally kinky hair. Straightening black hair, … A conk is an emphasized symbol of castration, to be the white standard. me, washing his hands, then pulling on the rubber gloves, and tying on his own To give your hair a more … Word choice that highlights this would be "conk," a process used to straighten out his naturally curly hair. Personal Life: Malcolm X also called Malcolm … The style was an attempt by Black males to straighten their hair to make it look like that of White men, and was accomplished by enduring a truly painstaking process of “relaxing” the hair with a … comb, one of those rubber hoses with a metal spray-head, a rubber apron, and a 4 years ago. rubbing hard. Then, with a fresh, ...themselves up and not fall for the “white man’s tricks” by getting drunk or getting, “Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs. Save. However, as shown in his essay, My First Conk, Malcolm X, in fact, was victimized by this malignant disease. 1.7K likes. Then, he was using a razor, very delicately, on the back of my neck. A jelly-like, starchy-looking glop resulted from the lye and potatoes, and There is only one time in his life when Malcolm's hair is chemically straightened on a regular … There is only one time in his life when Malcolm's hair is chemically straightened on a regular … A black man is denouncing pride by wearing a conk; Malcolm X points out a conk will not attract any affection from women, especially a black woman with pride. hair conked. He figured that the conk was for the "upper class" negroes, so if he got a conk… "My students can't get enough of your charts and their results have gone through the roof." He also gets his first “conk,” a hairstyle in which one’s hair … “Feel the jar,” Shorty said. I took the little list of ingredients he had printed out for me, and went to He had promised to school me in how to beat the barbershops’ three- and four-dollar price by making up congolene, and then conking ourselves. 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