Malcolm X
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The Nation of Islam was founded during the Great Depression in Detroit, Michigan by a silk merchant named Wallace D. Fard. He began preaching to the black community that they didnt deserve to live in poverty, and that the white people exploited the people so much that Fard believed that this community needed their own state.

Fard accumulated more than 8,000 followers who believed that Fard was actually god, in the form of man. Elijah Poole, later known as Elijah Muhammad, took over the Nation of Islam after Fards disappearance in 1934.

One Nation of Islam follower widely known for his work was Malcolm X. Malcolm X was born on May 19, 1925 under the name Malcolm Little, the fourth child of Rev. Earl and Louise Little. Malcolms father was of Baptist faith that preached on Sundays, and supported Universal Negro Improvement Association and Marcus Garvey, a stirring orator who advocated black pride and a black exodus from the United States to Africa. Rev. Little spread Garveys message, and this, according to legend, is what got him killed by white supremacists in 1931. (Gale 1997)

At age 6, Malcolms widowed mother Louise suffered a mental breakdown and was declared insane. Through all this, Malcolm managed to keep his spirits up by getting good grades, debating, playing basketball, and hoping someday to become a lawyer, only to have his dreams crushed at the age of 14, by a critical white teacher. “Thats no realistic goal for a nigger,” his teacher told him, and that he should aim at doing some sort of work with his hands. (Frost 2001)

Malcolms dreams were crushed, and at the age of 16 he moved up to New York with his sister.
There he worked on the streets of New York dealing drugs and hustling. By the time he was 20 years old, he was the leader of a burglar ring, and was caught with stolen goods. He was sentenced to 8-10 years in prison, which turned out to change Malcolms life around.

A man named Bimbi, who Malcolm admired, inspired him to straighten up. Malcolm began hitting the books, sometimes spending half the days in the prison library; it seemed he was searching for something to get him out of the rut hes been in since he was 14. (Frost 2001)

Malcolm began receiving letters from his brother, Reginald, who told him in his writings about the Nation of Islam, the teachings of an unclear black separatist party, also known as the Black Muslims. The basic message that the Nation of Islam was sending was that blackness was good, whiteness was bad, and that whites wreaked terrible havoc on blacks. (Frost 2001)

In 1952, Malcolm Little was released form prison and changed his name to Malcolm X. on the belief of Elijah Muhammad that black people should give up their slave names. A year later, that Black Muslims named Malcolm X that assistant minister at a Nation of Islam temple in Detroit, where he worked his way up the totem pole.

By 1954 Malcolm X was sent to preach in Harlem, New York City, the nations largest black community. There he preached, and soon the poor black people flocked him to hear what he had to say. They figured he was a man who knew the knowledge of their mean streets firsthand. They listened because Malcolm X was angry, just as the people of Harlem were.

Malcolms personal commitment helped build the organization nation-wide, while making him an international figure. He was interviewed on major television programs and by magazines, and spoke across the country at various universities and other forums. (Frost 2001)

With Black Muslim ideas as a foundation, Malcolm X would preach with great fury of the condition of blacks in America, and how the white people were held responsible. He would speak for hours on end of what he thought of the empty promises of integration and Christianity, and that the blacks need to get enraged, feel pride in their blackness, get their own land, and to defend themselves. (Frost 2001)

By this, Malcolm X was accused of teaching hate by White America. Malcolm X took these accusations and went further with it. He exclaimed that all whites were devils, and that they are all enemies to the black people. However, by the early 1960s, Malcolm X had encountered many white people and figured that white people werent as bad as he made them out to be. By this, and various other reasons, Malcolm X and other Black Muslims began to criticize the leadership of the Nation of Islam.

On March 12, 1964, driven by internal jealousy within the Nation of Islam and exposure of Elijah Muhammads sexual corruption, Malcolm left the Nation of Islam with the intention of starting his own organization: This departure of Black Muslims most famous member embarrassed and infuriated the hierarchy of the Nation of Islam, to the point that Malcolms life would be considered expendable. (Haley 1992)

Malcolm formed two organizations of his own, the Organization of Afro-American Unity and the Muslim Mosque Inc. He also made a pilgrimage to Islams holy city, Mecca, and adopted the name El-Hajj Malik El Shabazz. Along with the name, he adopted the views that not all whites were evil and that blacks could make gains by working through established channels.

From there Malcolm X joined the Sunni Islam as a minister who preached no longer of rage against White America, but more of how racism could come to an end through Islamic teachings.

Malcolm knew that any day could be his last, and he was disturbed by the possibility of a violent death. Though knowing he was the target of assassination,

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Malcolm X. Malcolm X And Nation Of Islam. (June 14, 2021). Retrieved from