ebraska, as Malcolm Little. Malcolm’s father, a Baptist minister, was an outspoken follower of Marcus Garvey, the Black Nationalist leader of the 1920s. The family moved to Lansing, Michigan, and when Malcolm was six years old, his father was murdered after receiving threats from the Ku Klux Klan. Malcolm’s mother suffered a nervous breakdown and the welfare department took the eight children. Malcolm was sent first to a foster home and then to a reform school.
After the eighth grade, Malcolm moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he worked at various jobs and eventually became involved in criminal activity. In 1946 he was sentenced to prison for burglary. While in prison, Malcolm became interested in the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the black Muslims, also called the Nation of Islam. Malcolm spent his time in jail educating himself and learning more about the black Muslims, who advocated racial separation. When Malcolm was released in 1952, he joined a black Muslim temple in Detroit, and took the name Malcolm X. In 1958 he married Betty Shabazz, and they had six daughters.
By the early 1960s, the Nation of Islam had become well known and Malcolm was their most prominent spokesperson. In 1963, however, the black Muslims silenced Malcolm for his remark that the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy was like “the chickens coming home to roost.” In the following year, Malcolm broke with the Nation of Islam and formed a secular Black Nationalist group, the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU).
In 1964 Malcolm made a hajj (pilgrimage) to the Islamic holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Based on this trip, and other travels to Africa and Europe, he renounced his previous teaching that all whites are evil, began advocating racial solidarity, and adopted the Arabic name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. On February 21, 1965, while addressing an OAAU rally in New York City, men allegedly connected with the black Muslims assassinated Malcolm. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965) was written by Alex Haley based on interviews with Malcolm X.
Malcolm was born in Omaha, Nebraska on the 19th, of May 1925. Ku Klux Klansmen murdered his father and his mother was committed to a mental hospital shortly after. He was placed in a foster home and was sent to reform school later. After the eighth grade, he became involved in criminal activity and was sent to prison. He soon learned the teachings of black Muslim leader Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm was released in 1952 and joined a Muslim temple and changed his name to Malcolm X. Married Betty later and had six daughters. He became his group’s best spokesperson, but left to start the Organization of Afro-American Unity. On February 21st, 1965, at an OAAU rally, he was shot. There was a book published about him.