Fact 19 : Malcolm X

Malcolm  Little, known as Malcolm X,  born in Omaha, Nebraska ,was the fourth child of eight children to a homemaker mother and a minister. His father Earl was a supporter of the Black Nationalist and with being a supporter came death threats from a white supremacy group called Black Legions. The family received numerous death threats to the point where they had to move twice by the time Malcolm was four years old. They ended up in Lansing, Michigan, which was just as bad because someone set their house on fire and it burned to the ground. When Malcolm was six years old, his father was murdered and his body was found on some trolley tracks. The tragedy broke up Malcolm’s family because his mother had a mental breakdown and was admitted to a mental institute which separated him and his siblings into foster homes.

By the time Malcolm was 15, he dropped out school and started engaging in criminal acts which landed him 6 years in prison on a burglary charge. While incarcerated he educated himself on the Nation of Islam, also known as Black Muslims, and it’s leader Elijah Muhammad; Malcolm’s siblings would visit him and talk to him about their converting to the religion as well. Muhammad’s theories were that the white society tries to keep black people from learning and achieving in the social, political and economic world. He also believed that in order for blacks to succeed, we needed to secure freedom, equality and justice by establishing our own state, separate from white people.

Towards the end on Malcolm’s imprisonment, he changed his last name form “Little” to “X” because he said Little was his slave name. He converted to the religion and traveled to Detroit, Michigan to meet with Muhammad. There, Muhammad appointed him as the minister of Temple number 7  in Harlem and Temple number 11 in Boston. H even started a newspaper column about the Nation of Islam titles Muhammad Speaks. With Malcolm having the newspaper, as well as speaking on radio stations and televisions, the number of members grew for the religion from 500 in 1952 to 30,000 in 1963. Muhammad who was a leader and Malcolm’s mentor, was caught in a secret scandal, impregnating  several women of the Islam Nation organization. Malcolm didn’t promise to keep quiet about the secret and was deeply hurt by his deception and betrayal to the religion.

 

 

photo credit: telesurftv.net

 

 

 

Shortly after the scandal, Malcolm made a bad comment about the assassination of President Kennedy and he was “silenced” by Muhammad for 90 days and was not able to speak about any events. Not too long after that Malcolm left the Nation of Islam and traveled to North Africa and the Middle East. He shared his thoughts and beliefs with different cultures and came back to the United States with a different mindset; being less angry, more optimistic about peaceful resolutions towards races American problems. When he would speak, he would talk talk to all races and not just African Americans.

 

photo credit: socialistalternatives.com

 

Since Malcolm had cut ties with Muhammad, there were undercover FBI informants who worked for the Nation that had put a hit out  on Malcolm, on behalf of Muhammad. After several attempts, at a speaking engagement, Malcolm was shot 15 times by three men and was dead at the scene. The three men were charged with his murder and he is buried in Hartsdale, New York.

The impact Malcolm made was going from an angry man to a more positive man who wanted all races to get along; which is the same thing Dr. Martin Luther King was doing, plus more but the two had different views of how the racism issues should be handled. Martin was more positive and nonviolent and before Malcolm went overseas, he was more militant and angry. It is unfortunate that the two couldn’t combine their thoughts and beliefs before Malcolm was assassinated. The two only had one meeting and it was at a news conference.  The two would have been a great team together but even separate they still got their points across and history has been made on their behalves and the will never be forgotten

 

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photo credit: cnn.com

 

 

featured image photo credit: malcolmxnetwork.tumblr.com

sources: malcolmx.com; biography.com; history.com

 

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