Malcolm X
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Malcolm X
Being an African American in the United States during the civil rights movement was one of toughest times to live through. The African American felt as if they were treated as non-humans being sent to the United States as slaves, being deprived of their education, forced to live in separate segregated areas, and given the careers that were the lowest paying jobs. They also had no political rights or legal protection. After the North had fought for the African American population to gain freedom from slavery, they were abandoned and were forced to fight for themselves. The Blacks were then left with much ambivalence in regard on how they would go about achieving civil rights. During this time was when a man named, Malcolm X, stood up for what he believed in and is now one of Americas greatest civil right leaders in history still today.

On May 19, 1925 Malcolm Little was born in a small Midwest town called Omaha, Nebraska. He grew up in a family of eight children with his mother, Louis Norton Little, who was a homemaker and his father, Earl Little, who was a Baptist minister and supporter of Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Earls active part in with the civil rights provoked death threats from the white organization Black Legion, forcing the Little family to relocate. At this time Malcolm experienced friction between his parents and the child abuse of his older siblings by his mother. Despite this hostility, the family lived well in a good part of Michigan. Then one night, after a fight Rev. Little went out to take a walk, Malcolm and family were awaken by the terrible news of their fathers death. This simple act of racism drastically affected the lifestyle of the Little family, and a large insurance policy which Rev. Little signed for, refused to pay leaving the family with hardly anything. With only unskilled jobs to support the nine-person family, Malcolms mother began receiving welfare checks. With this came the deterioration of her pride and eventual mental breakdown and she was then admitted to a mental institution. Soon the family fell into poverty and could not feed themselves. After much struggle, the welfare agency split the family among various foster homes and orphanages.

Malcolm was anxious to meet new friends but he found that he did not fit in with the upper-middle-class boys and girls so he got involved with some of the poorer boys in the neighborhood. He was then introduced to another side of the place of where he was living, the dangerous street life. Malcolm soon picked up tricks of the trade in surviving on the streets of a large Black ghetto. He became a dropout from school at the age of fifteen. Learning the ways of the streets, Malcolm became acquainted with hoodlums, thieves, dope peddlers, and pimps. Gambling, pimping, selling and smoking marijuana and other drugs took over his life. The people that surrounded him that were the ones there for him to follow became a major influence in shaping how Malcolm looked at life and people. He saw life as a big game and lost respect for people and did not trust anyone. From then on his life started to fall. Malcolm was convicted of armed burglary at age 21 and was sentenced eight to ten years at the Charlestown Prison outside of Boston.

In prison Malcolm was introduced to many people who had a big influence on him. One African American prisoner named, Bimbi, who was widely respected for his knowledge encouraged Malcolm to take advantage of the prison library to expand his own knowledge. Malcolm took the advice and used his time in prison to learn as much as he could. He then was transferred to the Concord Prison Facility where he was introduced to the organization called, Nation of Islam. The N.O.I. was a Black Muslim group who had a strict schedule of prayer and self- discipline. It also taught that blacks were superior to whites. He then started writing letters to Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the N.O.I. and was pleased to receive a letter back each time. Malcolm finally decided to join the N.O.I., which changed his lifestyle completely including the change of his last name to “X”, which stood for the unknown surname of his African ancestors.

As a result of Malcolms leadership skills and speaking ability, he became the foremost supporter and speaker for Muhammad. He also was appointed Minister of Islams New York Temple. Malcolm now had the privilege of learning the teaching directly from Muhammad. The two developed a father-son relationship. However eventually Malcolm became disappointed with Elijah Muhammads dishonorable religion and left to start his own Muslim organization. His charm, drive, and conviction attracted many new members. He spoke out with many beliefs and was determined

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Malcolm X And African American. (June 14, 2021). Retrieved from