Malcolm X

One of the most significant leaders of the African-American Muslim citizens who inspired many blacks across the United States to strive for personal freedom is Malcolm X.

One of the most significant leaders of the African-American Muslim citizens who inspired many blacks across the United States to strive for personal freedom is Malcolm X. Malcolm X was an  American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a popular figure during the civil rights movement. After his assassination, the widespread distribution of his life story— “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” (1965)—made him an ideological hero, especially among black youth.

What was Malcolm X Famous For?

  • Malcolm X was famous for his controversial advocacy for the rights of blacks during the civil rights movements.

When was Malcolm X Born?

Malcolm X was born on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska. His birth name was Malcolm Little. He was born to Earl Little(father) and Louise Norton Little(mother). His father Earl Little was an outspoken Baptist minister and avid supporter of Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. While his mother Louise Norton Little was a homemaker occupied with eight children.

He was the fourth child of his parents among the eight other siblings: six brothers, Philbert, Wilfred, Reginald, Earl Jr., Robert, and Wesley Little or X.and two sisters: Mary and Hilda Florice Little.

His father died when Malcolm was just six after being hit by a streetcar, quite possibly the victim of murder by the Black Legion. After his father’s death, his mother Louise Norton Little, had severe stress of raising her children, where she suffered a nervous breakdown and was committed to the state mental hospital where she remained for the remaining 26 years of her life.

Three of Malcolm’s four uncles were also murdered by white people.

How was Malcolm’s Early Life?

Though Malcolm was born in Omaha, Nebraska his family moved to Lansing, Michigan, where his father Earl Little attempted opening a store while continuing his preaching. But the Black Legion (a sub-branch of the Ku Klux Klan) began to irritate him.

After his father’s death in 1931, Malcolm started stealing food and candy from neighborhood stores to support his brothers and sisters. After being caught a few too many times, a local court ruled that Louise was unable to control Malcolm and had him removed from her care and was sent to a foster home. All his siblings were divided among several families, and Malcolm lived in various state institutions and boarding-houses.

Malcolm Little excelled in junior high school but dropped out after one of his eighth-grade teachers told him that he should become a carpenter instead of a lawyer, he lost interest and soon ended his formal education. As a rebellious youngster,

Malcolm moved from the Michigan State Detention Home, a juvenile home in Mason, Michigan, to the Roxbury section of Boston to live with an older half-sister, Ella, from his father’s first marriage. Living with his sister in Boston from the age of 14 to 25, Malcolm worked as a  shoeshine boy, soda jerk, busboy, waiter, and railroad dining car waiter. At this point he began a criminal life; gambling, selling drugs, burglary, and hustling.

In 1942 Malcolm moved to New York City’s Harlem neighborhood where he continued his unlawful lifestyle. He adapted well to the New York City street life and rose quickly in the criminal world. Malcolm became known as “Detroit Red”, for his red shock of hair.

When the police uncovered his criminal activities, Malcolm returned to Boston.

How was Malcolm’s Career?

In 1946, at the age of twenty, Malcolm was sentenced to ten years in prison for burglary. While in prison he began to transform his life. He began reading books on history, philosophy, and religion. In prison, his brother Reginald told him about the Black Muslims who was an Islamic religious organization whose official name was the “Lost-Found Nation of Islam”.

Malcolm began to study Muhammad’s teachings and to practice the religion faithfully. He even quit smoking, gambling, and eating porks. In addition to finding his new religion while in prison, Malcolm began copying words from the dictionary and developed the vocabulary that would help him become a passionate and effective public speaker.

In 1952, after Malcolm was released from prison, he went to Chicago, Illinois, to meet Elijah Muhammad(the leader of the Black Muslims). There he was accepted into the “Nation of Islam”, an African American movement, and given the name of “Malcolm X” from “Malcolm Little”. Malcolm X became the assistant minister of the Detroit Mosque. The following year he returned to  Chicago to study personally under Muhammad, and shortly thereafter was sent to organize a mosque in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1954 he went to lead the mosque in Harlem, the largest and most prestigious temple in the Nation after the Chicago headquarters.

Malcolm X soon became the most visible national spokesman for the Black Muslims. As the voice of the organization, he was a speech-writer, a philosopher, and an inspiring speaker who was often quoted by the media. His debating talents against white and black opponents helped spread the movement’s message. He believed that the civil rights gains made in America amounted to almost nothing, even challenging Martin Luther King Jr’s central notions of integration and nonviolence.

Malcolm X urged black people to give up the Christian religion. He preached that the high crime rate in black communities was basically a result of African Americans following the lifestyle of Western, white society. During this period Malcolm X urged black people not to participate in elections. These elections, the movement believed, meant supporting the immoral political system of the United States.

By 1959, the Black Muslim movement had moved into the national spotlight where racial tensions were reaching a boiling point, and white Americans grew fearful of Malcolm X and his message of black supremacy and by 1960, the movement membership had grown to more than one thousand people. On December 1, 1963, Malcolm X stated that he saw President John F. Kennedy’s assassination soon afterward Elijah Muhammad suspended him and ordered him not to speak for the movement for ninety days.

On March 8, 1964, Malcolm X publicly announced that he was leaving the Nation of Islam. He said he was starting two new organizations: “the Muslim Mosque, Inc.”, and the “Organization of Afro-American Unity”. He remained a believer in the Islamic religion then after.

During the next months, Malcolm X made several trips to Africa and Europe and one to Mecca, a city in Saudia Arabia(the holiest city of the Islamic religion). Based on these trips, he wrote that he no longer believed that all white people were evil and that he had found the true meaning of the Islamic religion. He changed his name to ‘El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz’.

Malcolm X announced that he planned to take the black struggle to an international audience by putting black people’s complaints against the United States before the United Nations (UN). For this purpose, he sought aid from several African countries through the Organization of Afro-American Unity. At the same time, he stated that his organizations were willing to work with other black organizations and with progressive white groups in the United States. Together, these organizations worked on voter registration, on black control of community public institutions such as schools and the police, and on other civil and political rights for black people.

Malcolm X began holding meetings in Harlem at which he discussed the policies and programs of his new organizations.

His martyrdom, ideas, and speeches contributed to the development of black nationalist ideology and the Black Power movement and helped to popularize the values of autonomy and independence among African Americans in the 1960s and ’70s.

Death of Malcolm X

Throughout 1964, as his conflict with the Nation of Islam intensified, Malcolm X was repeatedly threatened. In February, a leader of Temple Number Seven ordered the bombing of Malcolm X’s car as well. In the December 4 issue of Muhammad Speaks, Louis X wrote that “such a man as Malcolm is worthy of death”.

On a Sunday afternoon, February 21, 1965, as Malcolm X began to address one of the meetings and while delivering a lecture at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem he was assassinated with a gunshot where three members of the Nation of Islam were convicted of the murder namely Talmadge Hayer, Norman Butler, and Thomas Johnson.

Since his death, Malcolm X’s influence on the political and social thinking of African Americans has been enormous, and the literature about him has only grown. Alex Haley’s 1965 book, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, was written from several interviews conducted with Malcolm X before he died. It is now considered a classic in African American literature. Malcolm X Community College in Chicago, Malcolm X Liberation University in Durham, North Carolina, and the Malcolm X Society are all named for him.

Malcolm’s funeral service was held at Harlem’s ‘Unity Funeral Home’ and was attended by eminent people like John Lewis, Andrew Young, James Farmer, and Ossie Davis, amongst others.

Who was Malcolm Married With?

Malcolm X’s nationality was American and Taurus was his zodiac sign. He had a great reformation in his personal life that got reflected in his career as a leader and a speaker.

Malcolm X met his love of life Betty Sanders in 1955, during his lectures at the ‘Nation of Islam’ meetings. Betty Sanders became a regular face at his lectures, and soon the two fell in love and they got married in 1958. The couple was blessed with six daughters, Gamilah Lumumba, Qubilah, Attallah, Ilyasah, Malaak, and Malikah.

How Much was Malcolm’s Net Worth?

The American Muslim minister and human rights activist had a net worth of $150k which rose up to $1 million.

How Tall was Malcolm X?

Malcolm Little was a tall black handsome man having a perfect body build. He had a height of 6ft. 4inches.(193 cm). He always had a glass on his face. He had a brown complexion with a round beard around his face.

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