American civil rights activist Malcolm X was born on May 19, 1925. At birth, he was known as Malcolm Little, later known as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz then as Malcolm X. He passed away in February 1965. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African-Americans in history (Wikipedia). After losing his dad to death at the age of 6 and his mom being taken to a mental facility when he was 13, Malcolm X grew up in a number of foster homes. After Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm is widely regarded as the second most influential leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI), a movement he joined while in jail He later on fell out with the NOI in 1964.
When he left the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X founded Muslim Mosque, Inc., a religious organization, and the Organization of Afro-American Unity, a secular group that advocated Pan-Africanism (Wikipedia).
After writing to President Truman on his stance in the Korean war and declaring his communist stance, Malcolm took off his name “Little”. His reason in his own words: “For me, my ‘X’ replaced the white slavemaster name of ‘Little’ which some blue-eyed devil named Little had imposed upon my paternal forebears.”
In 1955, Malcolm X got married to Betty Sanders (changed name to Betty X) with whom he had six girls and two boys.
Being one of the most influential advocates for blacks’ right, Malcolm X met with other great world figures such as; Fidel Castro of Cuba, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, and Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria. In 1998 Time named The Autobiography of Malcolm X one of the ten most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century (Wikipedia).
My alma mater was books, a good library…. I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity. – Malcolm X
On February 21, 1965, just two days after accusing the NOI of attempting to kill him, he was shot and later died at the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Like every other great man, his impact lives on. Some of his works include:
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X. With the assistance of Alex Haley. New York: Grove Press, 1965.
- Malcolm X Talks to Young People. New York: Young Socialist Alliance, 1965.
- Malcolm X on Afro-American History. New York: Merit Publishers, 1967.
- The Speeches of Malcolm X at Harvard. Archie Epps, ed. New York: Morrow, 1968.
- By Any Means Necessary: Speeches, Interviews, and a Letter by Malcolm X. George Breitman, ed. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970.
- The End of White World Supremacy: Four Speeches by Malcolm X. Benjamin Karim, ed. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1971.
- The Diary of Malcolm X: 1964. Herb Boyd and Ilyasah Shabazz, eds. Chicago: Third World Press, 2013.
Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. Malcolm X