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The Biography Of Malcolm X

The Biography Of Malcolm X Born Name            : Malcolm Little Born Date              : May 19, 1925 Place born              : Omaha, N...

The Biography Of Malcolm X
Born Name            : Malcolm Little
Born Date              : May 19, 1925
Place born              : Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
Died                       : February 21, 1965 (aged 39)
                                 New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death       : Assassination (multiple gunshots)
Resting place         : Ferncliff Cemetery
Other names           : El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz
Occupation             : Minister, activist
Organization           : Nation of Islam, Muslim Mosque, Inc., Organization of Afro-American Unity
Political movement : Black nationalism,
                                  Pan-Africanism
Religion                  : Sunni Islam (converted from Nation of Islam)
Spouse(s)                : Betty Shabazz (m. 1958)
Children                  :  Attallah Shabazz
                                  Qubilah Shabazz
                                  Ilyasah Shabazz
                                  Gamilah Lumumba Shabazz
                                  Malikah Shabazz
                                  Malaak Shabazz
Parents                     :  Earl Little,
                                    Louise Norton Little
Born Malcolm Little in 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska, Malcolm was the son of a Baptist preacher who was a follower of Marcus Garvey. After the Ku Klux Klan made threats against his father, the family moved to Lansing, Michigan. There, in the face of similar threats, he continued to urge blacks to take control of their lives.

Two years later, Earl Little was found dead on the trolley tracks in town after a streetcar ran over him. Dispite the police report that Earl's death was an accident, Malcolm strongly believed that his father was killed by the Black Legion who placed his father's body on the tracks to make it look like an accident. Following Earl's death, Malcolm's mother, Louise Little, tried to support her eight children on her own. Malcolm started stealing food and candy from neighborhood stores to support his brothers and sisters. After being caught a few too many times, a local court ruled that Louise was unable to control Malcolm and had him removed from her care and placed in a friendly white couple's home who knew Louise. Two years later, Louise, due to severe stress in raising her children, suffered a nervous breakdown and was committed to the state mental hospital where she remained for the remaining 26 years of her life.

Most of Malcolm's early life was spent in and about Lansing, Michigan, where the family lived on a farm. Although the Little family was poor, they were self-sufficient until Reverend Little's death in 1931. After this, family unity began to dissolve: first Malcolm, who had become a discipline problem, was sent to live with another family in 1937; and later that year, Mrs. Little suffered a severe nervous breakdown and was sent to the state mental hospital. The other children became wards of the state.
Malcolm's defiant behavior toward authority remained a problem, and at thirteen, he was sent to the Michigan State Detention Home, bound for reform school. At the detention home, he received favored treatment (as a "mascot" of the white couple who operated the home), and rather than being sent on to reform school, he remained in the home through the eighth grade.
In junior high school, Malcolm became an outstanding student and was very popular with his schoolmates. But his world was upset in the eighth grade when his English teacher advised him not to try to become a lawyer because he was "a nigger." He became despondent and his schoolwork suffered. Finally, he asked to be transferred to the custody of his half-sister Ella, who lived in Boston. The request was granted, and he arrived in Boston in the spring of 1941.
In Boston, Malcolm found himself more attracted to the street life in the ghetto than to Ella's upper-class Roxbury society. A friend got him a job as a shoeshine boy at the Roseland Ballroom, which rapidly became the center of his social life. With straightened hair and wearing a zoot suit, the hustler's uniform, he began to spend most of his free time there, dancing and learning the trades of the con man, the pimp, the dope pusher, and the thief. Ella's last hopes for saving him from ruin disappeared when he jilted Laura, the "respectable" Roxbury girl he had been dating, for a white woman, Sophia.
When America entered World War II, Malcolm was sixteen, too young for the army, but by lying about his age, he was able to get a job on the railroad, the war having caused a shortage of black porters, cooks, and waiters. This job took him for the first time to New York City, and when he was fired from the railroad for wild behavior, he went to Harlem to live.
He took a job as a waiter at Small's Paradise, a famous Harlem club, where he became acquainted with the elite of Harlem's underworld. When he was fired from Small's for soliciting an Army spy for a prostitute, he moved naturally into the sorts of jobs he had been learning from Small's customers — selling marijuana, stickups, numbers running, and bootlegging. After running into trouble with another hustler, and a narrow scrape with the police, Malcolm fled back to Boston. There he formed a burglary ring, with Sophia, her sister, and his friend Shorty. Again, he got into trouble: first, with a friend of Sophia's white husband; then, with the police. He was caught and sentenced to ten years in prison.
During his seven years in prison (1946-52), Malcolm underwent a great change. He was greatly influenced by a prisoner called Bimbi, a self-educated man who convinced Malcolm of the value of education. In the intervening years since leaving the eighth grade, Malcolm had forgotten how to read and write, but with Bimbi's tutelage and encouragement, he began to read and study, even taking correspondence courses in English and Latin.

 After finishing 8th grade, Malcolm dropped out of school and traveled to Boston where his older sister, Ella, lived. After a few years, Malcolm moved to New York City where, to support himself, he became a numbers runner, a drug dealer, even a pimp. He wore zoot suits and dyed his hair red, which earned him the nickname 'Detroit Red.' He relocated to Boston again where he organized a robbery ring that was uncovered by the police in 1946, and he was sentenced to eight to 10 years in prison. Malcolm used the time behind bars to educate himself in the prison library where he learned the fundamentals of grammar and increased his vocabulary. It was here that a few inmates introduced Malcolm to a new religion and movement, The Nation of Islam. Malcolm's younger brother, Reginald, already a member, visited him and told him about Islam and about Allah. Much of what Reginald said confused Malcolm, but two phrase took root in his head, "The white man is the devil" and "The black man is the brainwashed." Malcolm learned that if he wanted to join, he would have to accept its theology and submit completely to its founder and leader, Elijah Muhammad.

Inspired by the new direction his life was taking, Malcolm wrote Elijah Muhammad a heartfelt letter about himself and why he wanted to join. Elijah wrote back welcoming Malcolm to the faith. He instructed Malcolm to drop his last name, which his ancestors inherited from a slave owner and replace it with the letter X which symbolized that his true African name had been lost. In 1952, Malcolm was finally paroled from prison. Rather than returning to the life of crime, Malcolm committed himself to learning more about his new religion. In 1958, Malcolm married Betty Shabazz, a Muslim nurse and together they had four daughters (plus two more born after his death). Over the next several years, Malcolm became the spokesperson for the Nation of Islam and became one of its most powerful speakers attracting thousands of African-Americans into the fold with his charismatic speeches and rich and powerful words. Malcolm's charismatic personalty also attracted the attention of the white media. But unlike Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who believed in non-violent tactics to archive equal rights for blacks, Malcolm favored the use of arms and proposed a revolutionary program that would create a separate society for blacks in America. Malcolm's relationship with the media displeased Elijah Muhammad for he felt that the Nation of Islam's messages where being overshadowed by Malcolm's newfound celebrity.

In the early 1960s, Malcolm learned of paternity suits filed by two women of the Nation of Islam who worked for Elijah Muhammad as his secretaries. Determined to get to the bottom of the rumors about Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm met with the two women and later privately with Elijah Muhammad who did not deny the accusations against him as he did publicly but justified his actions by comparing his with other Biblical figures as David and Noah who suffered from "moral lapses". Elijah's response left Malcolm dissatisfied and contributed to his growing disenchantment with the Nation of Islam.

In November 1963, Malcolm's candidness with reporters provided Elijah Muhammad with an excuse to sideline him. When asked about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm called the murder a case of "the chickens coming home to roost." The public, both black and white, was outraged by Malcolm's comment after which Elijah suspended him from his duties as spokesperson for 90 days.

Feeling betrayed by the Nation of Isalm, Malcolm announced in March 1964 that he was not going to return, but he was going to form his own movement called the Muslim Mosque, Inc. and invited blacks everywhere to join his new crusade. In response to Malcolm's announcement, Elijah Muhammad wrote in the Nation if Islam's bi-weekly newspaper that "only those who wish to be led to hell or to their doom will follow Malcolm. No one ever leaves the Nation of Isalm."

Over the next several months, several attempts where made against Malcolm's life. Apparently, this did not surprise him for he said, "This thing with me will only be resolved by death and violence." In April 1964, Malcolm made a pilgrimage to Mecca, the Isamic holy city in Saudi Arabia. The trip had a profound affect on him when he was greeted warmly by Musilms of many nationalities. Malcolm then realized that if Muslims of all races can live together in peace, why not people of all religions? Malcolm then remarked, "My true brotherhood includes people of all races, coming together as one. It has proved to me that there is the power of one God."

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