The life and times of Malcolm can be viewed as controversial. He is one of the most contentious characters in American history. Famous for his confidence and intelligence he led a mission to give the African American race civil rights. Just like Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King jr, Malcolm X fought for the rights of African Americans. However unlike Evers and King, Malcolm X was a member of ‘The Nation of Islam’ and preached that his African American followers defend themselves against the white man by any means necessary. Unfortunately all three activists had the same fate as they were all shot for standing up for their beliefs.
Malcolm Little was born on the 19th May 1925 in Omaha Nebraska. His mother (Louise Norton Little) looked after the family’s eight children. And his father (Earl Little) was a Baptist minister. Both parents especially Earl were strong supporters of Marcus Garvey. Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican political leader who preached Black Nationalism and the Pan-Africanism that Malcolm Little would soon be highly associated with. Because of his father’s civil rights activism the Little family was forced to move around a lot due to death threats and violence. On September 28th 1931, Earl Little was struck by a car. The majority of people strongly believe that Earl Little was pushed because he was speaking out against issues that were a very delicate subject. The newspaper article reads, “Believe Negro Lost Life Because He Forgot Coat” (Abdul Alkalimat, May 19, 1999) however it’s a very suspicious death and Malcolm always stated that his father was murdered by white Supremacists. After his father’s death, Malcolm’s mother started dating another man. After she became pregnant with his child he disappeared from her life and she had a nervous breakdown and was put into a mental health facility. The implications of this meant that Malcolm and his siblings were split up and put into a series of foster homes. Malcolm would go on to claim that three of his uncles were murdered by white supremacists and that one of them was lynched. Malcolm Little moved on with his life and became a well-adjusted student in the late stages of primary school with an apparent bright future ahead of him. However all this changed when he told his favourite teacher of his aspirations to become a lawyer, the white teacher responded by saying that’s “no realistic goal for a nigger” (Estate Of Malcolm X, 2010). After this, a young Malcolm dropped out of school and moved in with his sister (Ella Little Young) in Boston. Living with his sister he held a few jobs before leaving for New York in 1943. In Harlem (New York) Malcolm Little became engaged in a lot of illegal activity that included drug dealing, robbery and pimping. Still without a criminal record Little had a meeting with the draft board officials to discuss military service. As he states in his autobiography he was deemed mentally unfit for military service when he told the officials there that he had intentions to "steal us some guns, and kill us some crackers" (white people). (Malcolm X Autobiography, 1965) Towards the end of 1945 Little returned to Boston and committed robberies against wealthy white families. This is where his hatred for the white man really begins but no figure of greatness is reflected just yet. Malcolm Little gets arrested for his crimes and is sentenced to eight to ten years jail time. In prison he begins to read and increase his intelligence and knowledge of the world he lives in. He writes a letter to President Ford to express his opposed view on the Korean War and declares himself a communist. At this time stating that you were a communist was a very dangerous thing to do. People who did such things usually disappeared and it shows a lot of courage in Little to do this. It was also in prison where he learns about the ‘Nation of Islam’ and becomes a Muslim.
‘The Nation of Islam’ is a fairly new Muslim religion