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Malcolm X, Civil Rights Leader and Black Nationalist - Biography
Malcolm X and Martin Luther King
Malcolm X May 19, — February 21, was an American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a popular figure during the civil rights movement. He is best known for his controversial advocacy for the rights of blacks; some consider him a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans, while others accused him of preaching racism and violence. Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska , he relocated to New York City's Harlem neighborhood in , after spending his teenage years in a series of foster homes following his father's death and his mother's hospitalization. In New York, Little engaged in several illicit activities, and was eventually sentenced to ten years in prison in for larceny and breaking and entering. After being paroled in , he quickly became one of the organization's most influential leaders.
Malcolm X , the activist and outspoken public voice of the Black Muslim faith, challenged the mainstream civil-rights movement and the nonviolent pursuit of integration championed by Martin Luther King, Jr. Charismatic and eloquent, Malcolm became an influential leader of the Nation of Islam, which combined Islam with black nationalism and sought to encourage and enfranchise disadvantaged young blacks searching for confidence in segregated America. There, in the face of similar threats, he continued to urge blacks to take control of their lives. Although he was found with his head crushed on one side and almost severed from his body, it was claimed he had committed suicide, and the family was denied his death benefit. Its disintegration quickly followed: Welfare caseworkers sought to turn the children against each other and against their mother, from whom Malcolm, then six, was taken and placed in a foster home.
Offering an alternative view to the mainstream Civil Rights movement, Malcolm X advocated for both the establishment of a separate black community rather than integration and the use of violence in self-defense rather than non-violence. His forceful, uncompromising belief in the evils of the white man frightened the white community. After Malcolm X left the black Muslim Nation of Islam organization, for which he had been both a spokesperson and a leader, his views toward white people softened, but his core message of black pride endured. After Malcolm X was assassinated in , his autobiography continued to spread his thoughts and passion. Louise, who had grown up in Grenada, was Earl's second wife. Malcolm was the fourth of the six children Louise and Earl shared.
In , Malcolm X made a pilgrimage to Mecca and changed his name restive as the Nation of Islam failed to join in the mounting civil rights.
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Malcolm X was a minister, human rights activist and prominent black nationalist leader who served as a spokesman for the Nation of Islam during the s and s. Due largely to his efforts, the Nation of Islam grew from a mere members at the time he was released from prison in to 40, members by A naturally gifted orator, Malcolm X exhorted blacks to cast off the shackles of racism "by any means necessary," including violence. Due to Earl Little's civil rights activism, the family was subjected to frequent harassment from white supremacist groups including the Ku Klux Klan and one of its splinter factions, the Black Legion. In fact, Malcolm Little had his first encounter with racism before he was even born.
Wikimedia Commons. When most people think of the civil rights movement, they think of Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet the movement achieved its greatest results—the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act—due to the competing and sometimes radical strategies and agendas of diverse individuals such as Malcolm X, whose birthday is celebrated on May It also laid the groundwork for the Black Power movement of the late sixties. Malcolm X believed that blacks were god's chosen people.
Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time. Before it was for and by the guidance of Elijah Muhammad. Now I think with my own mind, sir! We believed in him. We actually believed that God, in Detroit by the way, that God had taught him and all of that. I always believed that he believed in himself.