Malcolm X also known as El-Hajj Malik El- Shabazz was born on the 19th of May 1925 as Malcolm Little in a small town of Omaha, Nebraska. He was the fourth of eight children from a father who was an outspoken minister and a humble mother who was a homemaker. After the father was killed in a so-called accident, the mother suffered a mental breakdown and was sent to a mental hospital, Malcolm and his siblings were sent to different foster homes and orphanages.After going through a series of foster homes, he managed to graduate on top of his junior class, but soon dropped out after one of the teachers told him that his ambition of being a lawyer was a waste of time for a black man like him.
At the age of 20, he was arrested for burglary and was given a 10 years sentence. While in prison, he started to further his education and also became a devoted follower of the Muslim religion after the leadership of Elijah Muhammad, and he became a member of the Nation of Islam (NOI) which was an organization that was against discrimination and racism. In 1952, he was paroled and he changed his name to Malcolm X. This surname “X” to him symbolized that Little was his slave name and “X” was his lost and forgotten tribal name.
After his release from jail he became a devoted follower of the Muslim Religion, and he became one of the most influential African American speakers in the African American Muslim community. He talked about the rights of the minorities and racism. He was responsible for building some of the Mosques across America and was also featured in most of the newspaper columns, radio and the television spreading Islam’s message. Unfortunately, all this fame captured the government’s attention, and the FBI monitored his every move.
After visiting Mecca in 1960 and other African countries, he came back as a changed man, and he started looking at life from a different perspective. He modified his views and accepted the possibility of working with other people from other ethnic backgrounds. In 1964, he broke from the NOI after a misunderstanding with their leader, Elijah Muhammad, he started his own movement called The Muslim Mosque Inc. His resignation from the group made him a lot of enemies, and was marked for assassination. On the 21st of February, after many failed attempts on his life, he was finally assassinated while making a speech at the Manhattan Audubon Ballroom, carried out by the members of the Nation of Islam (NOI). He was shot 21 times and died on arrival at the New York’s Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.
Although Malcolm X made himself a lot of enemies with his teachings, he was a breath of fresh air in the 1960’s when racial tensions were high across America and in the whole world. He was devoted to the teachings of the Quran, and he was an example and should be remembered as such. He believed that just a drop of water in the ocean can make a difference in the whole world, and for many African Americans, he was that drop of water.
Surely, this was a man who lived for the rights of minorities and never gave up on his struggle against ethnic discrimination and racism, and he died defending what he believed. Malcolm X lived his live with love and respect, and we must learn from him to love and respect other’s right and dignity, no matter who we are or where we are from!
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