Malcolm X was born with the name Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska to Louise and Earl Little. His father Earl was an activist for the Universal Negro Improvement Association. In 1929, Earl was found dead, and many believe the Black Legion was responsible for his death. Malcolm’s mother never got over his death and in 1937 she suffered a mental breakdown and was admitted to a mental institution. This caused Malcolm and his seven siblings to be separated into different foster homes and orphanages.
Malcolm was very smart. He was the top three in his class. He was also very popular among his friends. Malcolm dropped out after junior high after a teacher discouraged him saying it was irrational to dream big since he was black. Once dropping out, Malcolm moved to Boston with a childhood friend where he got in to some trouble and was sent to prison for burglary. He was sentenced to ten years, but was released after serving seven.
While incarcerated, Malcolm followed teachings of Islam and joined The Nation of Islam (NOI). After one year of being released he served as the head of the mosques. He began opening mosques in several places. During this time, Malcolm was disliked by many whites and some blacks as he came off as prejudiced himself. Malcolm would preach about the white race dying off and that black people would be left to rule the world. His speeches went against other civil rights rallies, where they were fighting for racial integration, as he demanded separate nation for black people. During a Meeting of the NOI, Malcolm met Betty Sanders. She became a regular at these meetings. Malcolm married Betty in 1958.
After meeting with famous national leaders at a conference in 1960, Malcolm later announced in 1964 that he was leaving the NOI and was now going to follow the teachings of Sunni Islam. At this time he began striving for racial integration and worked along Martin Luther King Jr. He established the Organization of Afro-American Unity. This organizations purpose was to promote the rights for African Americans.
On February 14, 1965, the home of Malcolm and Betty, along with their six daughters was firebombed. They were all able to escape. One week later on February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City. Malcolm’s wife and daughters were in the audience near the stage. The three men that assassinated Malcolm X were caught and convicted to life in prison. These three men were all part of the Nation of Islam group.
Malcolm X was a speaker of racial injustice; he led a movement toward a cause of equal human rights for African Americans. He believed in a greater good of his people despite the trouble he confronted to get his words of wisdom heard. His legacy has lived on and it inspires many every day. Because of the hurdles he has come across, I believe Malcolm X deserves to stay on our wall as an inspiration to us. He is teaching us that no matter where we come from, no matter what walls are put in our way, that if we fight for what we want, we can have it.