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Author: Malcolm X
Translation: Imranul Haque Chauhan
Shorty would take me to new places frequented by very pretty girls and handsome boys. In these places, youth, enthusiasm and fun would have been at their peak. The language of these places was anything but everyday and did not suit the new man at all. But very soon I not only got used to it but I also started speaking fluently. Like millions of blacks who moved from the countryside to the city, I adopted all the fashions of city life, like animal suits, coke, alcohol, cigarettes and drugs, the one thing I couldn’t do even if I wanted to. . That is, dance.
I don’t remember the exact time or night when Lindy first hopped at a “pad party” and I don’t remember exactly if it was the alcohol or “my Joanna” that got me hooked.Hui awakened the African instinct. There was a party where everyone was dancing except me when a girl grabbed me and I was dancing in the crowd. When I lived with white people in Lansing and watched them dance, I understood that dance was an order and a structure where you had to take each step in a certain way. But here among my peers I learned that dance is really a free and natural movement of hands and body in rhythm with music, after that no dance event was complete without my participation.
I naturally learn new things quickly, so very soon the girls came and asked me to be their partner. Even while I was working at Roseland, my hands and feet moved to the music. Yes, the best dances ke te hai I was like a key toy and the key filled me whenever I listen to music.
I gave the manager of Roseland a notice to quit because I couldn’t play dance and shine shoes at the same time, Elijah was very happy to hear that I had quit this nonsense. Shorty listened and said he already knew I would be quitting this job soon. Shorty was more interested in music than dancing. He mostly played the saxophone or listened to other musicians’ albums. He was heavily influenced by Duke Ellington’s band artist, “Johnny Hodges”.
As soon as I quit early in the morning, I came to the clothing store. The salesman looked at the bill and there was no money to me except for one week’s payment. I told him I was retired. As he assured me that there was no problem, “If you want, you can go for 2 more weeks without paying the installment.”
I looked at the clothes carefully and chose another pair (Zoot). It was a gray shark skin suit. The trouser legs were so narrow that one had to take off the shoes while putting on the trousers. I also bought a new shirt, hat and shoes on the salesman’s advice. Which increased my liability by seventy eighty dollars. I got a haircut from a barber for the first time. This time I wasn’t in much pain. This whole arrangement was because “Lineal Hamtpin” was coming to Roseland today. When I arrived at Roseland in new clothes, the big “hipsters” started looking at my clothes. The girls also started looking at me. First I had jam and then headed to the ballroom. The music had started and the black boys and girls were dancing madly. Before I had only danced in narrow rooms, now I had a hall in front of me. As the heat of the wine and music entered my mind, I began to dance wildly. He would grab whoever he wanted from the hundreds of girls standing around. They were all great dancers too. Black, yellow and even a few white girls joined me. I used to swing them like crazy around my hip, shoulder and the air and everyone was applauding me for my dancing skills. Although I was not yet 16 years old, but I looked like 21 years old considering my height and saddle. I used to lead all kinds of dances like ‘circle, tap dance, flapping eagle, duckingroo and da split’ so there was no dance where I didn’t have fun. My best partner in these passionate dances was a girl named “Laura”. I met him at the “Town’s and Drug Store” where I was leaving my job as a “shoemaker” and working as a “fountain clerk”. Ela gave me this job. Every day at eight o’clock when I came home from work, Ella cheered me up by saying, “Look, one day you’ll find a good partner here.” He felt it necessary to present himself as a millionaire. I was very afraid of these violent people. All these people were full of fakes, they had distorted the accent so much that if the recipient was not in front, the listener would never know that this accent was not from a white person but from a black person. (continued)
Note: This book is published by “Book Home” (all rights reserved).