Malcolm X

Early life

Malcolm X
Malcolm X

Malcolm X was born in Nebraska in 1925 as Malcolm Little. When he was six years old his father was murdered in a racist attack.

He turned to crime and in 1945 Malcom was sentenced to seven years in prison for burglary.

It was there that he first heard about the Nation of Islam.

Nation of Islam

  • Founded in Detroit 1930.
  • Accepted only black Americans as members between 1930 and 1975.
  • Argued for the separation of black and white people.
  • Considered white people to be ‘devils’.

Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam

In 1952 Malcom joined the Nation of Islam and changed his surname from Little to ‘X’.

He said that the X represented his real African name.

In his speeches for the Nation of Islam, he rejected the tactic of non-violence.

He also spoke about the poor conditions faced by many black Americans in the ghettos.

He said, I am black first…My sympathies are black, my allegiances are black, my whole objectives are black…I am not interested in being an American, because America has never been interested in me.

The video below shows a rare interview with Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam in 1964.

Malcom X after the Nation of Islam

Frustrated by the slow progress of the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X left the organisation in March 1964.

He travelled on a pilgrimage to Africa and Mecca in the Middle East, where his beliefs changed.

He discovered that many of his fellow pilgrims were actually white and were not any different to himself.

On 21 February 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated by members of the Nation of Islam, while speaking at a rally in New York.

The video below shows an interview with Malcolm X after the Nation of Islam in 1964.