Malcolm X was born in May 1925 and died in 1965 after an assignation while he was giving a speech. He was a candid voice of the Black Muslim faith while critics accused him of encouraging racism and violence. He is considered one of the greatest and most powerful African-Americans in history.
Malcolm X played a major role in inspiring many blacks in the U.S. He also disputed the civil rights movement and the nonviolent policy that Martin Luther King Jr. promoted. Malcolm encouraged his followers to protect themselves against white antagonism by all necessary means.
Malcolm’s inspiration came when he was orphaned at an early age after his father was killed by whites. His teachers also did not depict any confidence in him notwithstanding his brilliant academic performance. The dream he had of being a lawyer was crushed when they recommended that carpentry would be the profession better suited for a black.
He turned to alternative ways of earning money, and he was arrested in 1946 on robbery charges. He got a 10-year sentence, and this was the foundation of his activist life.
• Nation of Islam
While in prison, his siblings gradually encouraged him to join the Nation of Islam. He was introduced to Elijah Muhammad, the Nation of Islam leader in 1948 and he met him in 1952 after he was paroled. For two years, he was the head of mosques, and he set up mosques in Atlanta, Springfield and Hartford.
• Civil Rights Movement
He quit the Nation of Islam in 1964 and began a new organization, Muslim Mosque, Inc. He also traveled to Africa and the Middle East and on his return he had a new perspective of integration, and he then began preaching to all races not only African-Americans.