MALCOM X PAGE 1
Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother, Louise Norton Little, was a homemaker occupied with the family 8 children. His father, Earl Little, was an outspoken Baptist minister and avid supporter of Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. which prompted death threats from the white supremacist organization, forcing the family to relocate twice before malcom’s fourth birthday.
Regardless of little’s effort to elude the Legion, in 1929, their Lansing, Michigan home was burned to the ground. Two years later, Earl’s body was found lying across the town’s track. Police ruled both incidents as accidents, but the Littles were certain that members of the Black Legion were responsible. Louise suffered emotional breakdown several years after the death of her husband and was committed to a mental institution, while her children were split up among various foster homes and orphanages.
Eventually malcolm and his long time friend shorty moved back to boston. In 1946, they were arrested an convicted on burglary charges, and malcolm was sentenced 10 years in prison, although he was granted parole after seven years.
Recalling his days in school, he used the time to further his education. it was during this time he found the muslim religion. The Nation of Islam.
Intrigued, malcolm began to study the teachings of N.O.I. leader Elijah Muhammad. Muhammad taught that white society actively worked to keep Afican Americans from empowering themselves and achieving political, economic, and social success. Among other goals, the N.O.I. fought for a state of their own, seperate from one inhabited by white people. By the time he was paroled in 1952, Malcolm was a devote follower with the new surname “X” ( he considered “little” a slave name and chose the “X” to signify his lost tribal name.).
Intelligent and articulate, Malcolm was appointed as a minister and national spokesman for the N.O.I. Elijah Muhammad also charged him with establishing new mosques in cities such as Detroit, Michigan and Harlem. malcolm utilized newspaper columns, as well as radio and television, to promote N.O.I. message. his drive and conviction attracted an astounding numbers. Malcolm was largely credited with increaseing membership in the Nation of Islam from 500 in 1952, to 30,000 in 1963.
The crowds and controversy surrounding Malcolm made him a media magnet. He was featured in a weeklong television special with Mike Wallace in 1959, called THE HATE THAT HATE PRODUCED. After the special, Malcolm was faced with the uncomfortable reality that his fame had eclipsed that of his mentor Elijah Muhammed. In addition to the media, Malcolm vivid personality had captured the government’s attention.
As the membership in the N.O.I. continued to grow, FBI agents infiltrated the organization (one even acted as Malcolm bodyguard) and secretly placed bugs, wiretaps, cameras, and other surveillance equipment to monitor the group’s activities. Malcolm faith was dealt a blow at the height of the civil rights movement in 1963. He learned that his mentor and leader, Elijah Muhammad, was secretly having relations with as many as six women within the N.O.I. organization.