Malcolm X

1925-1965

Early Life

He was born on 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska. His mom’s name was Louise, a homemaker, and his father’s name was Earl Little, a preacher who was also an active member of the local chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and hard-core worker of black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey.Because of Earl Little's civil rights activism, the family encountered replayed torture from white sexist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and one of its political factions, the Black Legion. In fact, Malcolm X had his first encounter with racism before he was even alive.

Malcolm said one time "When my mother was pregnant with me, she told me later, 'a group of hooded Ku Klux Klan riders galloped up to our home,'" he remembered. "Brandishing their shotguns and rifles, they shouted for my father to come out." The torment continued; when he was four, local Klan members smashed all of the family's windows, making Earl to decide to move the family from Omaha to East Lansing, Michigan.

anyway, the racism they encountered in East Lansing proved even greater than in Omaha. Shortly after they moved in, in 1929, a racist mob set their house on fire, and the town's all-white emergency responders refused to do anything. "The white police and firemen came and stood around watching as the house burned to the ground," Malcolm remembered.

Two years later, in 1931, things got a lot worse. Earl's dead body was found laid out on the city streetcar tracks. Eve though Earl was very likely killed by white hard-core people, from whom he had received constant death threats, the police officially ruled his death a suicide, thereby voiding the big life insurance rule he had purchased so that he could provide for his family in the event of Earl’s death. Malcolm's mother never recovered from the shock and grief of her husband's death. In 1937, she was committed to a mental institution and Malcolm X left home to live with family friends.

Adulthood and assassination

On the night of February 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, where Malcolm X was about to tell a speech, three assassins rushed the stage and shot him 15 times at point blank range. Malcolm X was dead on in Columbia Presbyterian Hospital a little after. He was 39 years old. The three men convicted of the assassination of Malcolm X were all members of the Nation of Islam: Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson.

In the immediate aftermath of Malcolm X's death, commentators largely ignored his recent spiritual and political transformation and criticized him as a violent rabble-rouser. However, Malcolm X's legacy as a civil rights hero was cemented by the posthumous publication in 1965 of The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley. At once a harrowing chronicle of American racism, an unsparing self-criticism and an inspiring spiritual journey, the book, transcribed by the acclaimed author of Roots, instantly recast Malcolm X as one of the great political and spiritual leaders of modern times. Named by TIME magazine one of 10 "required reading" non-fiction books of all-time, The Autobiography of Malcolm X has truly enshrined Malcolm X as a hero to subsequent generations of radicals and activists.

Perhaps Malcolm X's greatest contribution to society was underscoring the value of a truly free populace by demonstrating the great lengths to which human beings will go to secure their freedom. "Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression," he stated. "Because power, real power, comes from our conviction which produces action, uncompromising action."