Malcolm X was a civil rights activist in the 60’s; he championed the idea of black rights, and believed in getting their rights anyway possible, which included violence if need be. Malcolm had a rough childhood, his own father, a civil rights activist himself, was killed by a white supremacist group when Malcolm was only six years of age. Police had ruled his death as an accident, but Malcolm’s family thought otherwise. Malcolm’s mother Louise went crazy after her husband’s death and was assigned to a mental institution. Malcolm and his 7 brothers and sisters were put into separate foster families.
Malcolm was very intelligent in school, so much so that he was at the top of his class in junior high. He dreamed of becoming a lawyer, but was told by a teacher that since he was black, he had no future as a lawyer. Outraged, Malcolm dropped out of school and moved to New York. Malcolm got involved with drugs, prostitution, stealing, and gambling. Eventually, Malcolm got in trouble with the law, and got sentenced for 10 years in prison due to burglary.
Malcolm spent these 10 years in prison painstakingly reading every single word in the dictionary, and self-educating himself, for he had nothing else to do. Malcolm saw he needed to change his ways. He was told about the religion of Islam in prison when his brother visited him, and he read about Islam as well. Malcolm was hooked, and believed that Elijah Muhammad, the teacher of Islam was right in every way. Muhammad taught African Americans and other Islamic people should have their own state where no whites can live, and that whites were holding back African American empowerment, and hindered the African American success on purpose.
As Malcolm X exited jail, he advocated the Nation of Islam to all; he was a natural leader and increased the group total from 300 to 30,000. Malcolm X was now seen as a public leader to all people, but that increased his death threats and safety as well from white supremacist groups, just as his father had dealt with before his death.
Malcolm soon came to the realization that Elijah Muhammad was not the person he claimed to be, Muhammad advocated no sex before marriage while he had relations with 6 women and had children with a few of them as well. Outraged, Malcolm quit the Nation of Islam group and made his own religion named the Muslim Mosque Inc. The Nation of Islam was very upset with Malcolm leaving and was actually marked for assassination.
Malcolm took a trip to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The trip opened his eyes to new possibilities, for white men were kind to him and were acting as brothers. After this trip, Malcolm believed that maybe whites and blacks could get along after all; they did not need to be separate.
Malcolm came back to the United States, and on February 27, 1965, he was shot and killed by three men who were identified as members of the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X’s teachings left a legacy of hope for the African American community, as he taught many about the rights of African Americans should have, and put out the word that they needed those rights in order to live a fulfilled happy life.
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Malcolm x. (12, 5 11). Retrieved from http://www.malcolmx.com/