Born on the 19th of May in 1925, Malcolm Little (later known as Malcolm X) spent most of his life fighting for African American rights. During the Civil rights movement in the 1960’s, Malcolm x, gained global recognition and prominence To his admirers, he was a courageous advocate for the human rights of blacks, and somewhat of an embodiment for all those who were oppressed. Whereas detractors accused him of preaching racism, black supremacy and inciting violence.
Malcolm x, the charismatic, persuasive and eloquent speaker for the Nation of Islam (the NOI) had been preaching his message, to mostly underclass, black Americans since the early 1950’s. The nation of Islam believed that whites had systematically denied blacks their rights; therefore blacks had no obligation to act peacefully or forgivingly towards white Americans. And instead of following the non-violent protests embraced by Martin Luther King Jr., the Nation encouraged blacks to defend themselves against white supremacy “by any means necessary.” This phrase soon became a slogan for the nation of Islam, as Malcolm X originally said it through a speech. This statement was particularly powerful, especially in accompaniment of his charismatic delivery, because it is generally considered to leave all available tactics open in order to meet the desired ends. However the “necessary” eludes that if violence is unnecessary, then presumably it needn’t be used. As this statement became more widely, and universally acknowledged, x stated that “I am for violence, if non-violence means we continue postponing a solution to the American black mans problem just to avoid violence.” This embodied X’s primary belief; “complete freedom, justice and equality by any means necessary.”
However Malcolm X’s beliefs did change substantially over time, as he broke from the Nation of Islam in 1964 as he then supported the civil right movement’s emphasis on integration. Becoming a Sunni Muslim, he disavowed racism however continued to support black self-defence as he so stated, to “Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.” Once abandoning the Nation of Islam, and their beliefs of segregation Malcolm X gained allies, such as civil rights leaders, however in doing so he made enemies of the Nation of Islam, particularly Elijah