Biography of Malcolm X
On May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska, Malcolm Little was born to
Reverend Earl and Louise Little. Rev. Little, who believed in
self-determination and worked for the unity of black people. Malcolm
was raised in a background of ethnic awareness and dignity, but
violence was sparked by white racists trying to stop black people such
as Rev. Little from preaching the black cause.
The history of Malcolm's dedication to black people, like that of his
father, may have been motivated by a long history of oppression of his
family. As a young child, Malcolm, his parents, brothers, and sisters
were shot at, burned out of their home, harassed, and threatened. This
culminated in the murder of his father by white racists when Malcolm
Malcolm became a drop-out from school at the age of fifteen. Learning
the ways of the streets, Malcolm became acquainted with hoodlums,
thieves, dope peddlers, and pimps. Convicted of burglary at twenty, he
remained in prison until the age of twenty-seven. During his prison
stay he attempted to educate himself. In addition, during his period
in prison he learned about and joined the Nation of Islam, studying
the teachings of Elijah Muhammed fully. He was released, a changed
man, in 1952.
The Nation of Islam
Upon his release, Malcolm went to Detroit, joined the daily activities
of the sect, and was given instruction by Elijah Muhammad himself.
Malcolm's 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. His power
was in his words, which so vividly described the plight of blacks and
vehemently incriminated whites. When a white person referred to the
fact that some Southern university had enrolled black freshmen without
bayonets, Malcolm reacted with scorn:
When I "slipped," the program host would leap on the bait: "Ahhh!
Indeed, Mr. Malcolm X -- you can't deny that's an advance for your
I'd jerk the pole then. "I can't turn around without hearing about
some 'civil rights advance'! White people seem to think the black man
ought to be shouting 'hallelujah'! Four hundred years the white man
has had his foot-long knife in the black man's back -- and now the
whit man starts to wiggle the knife out, maybe six inches! The black
man's supposed to be grateful? Why, if the white man jerked the knife
out, it's still going to leave a scar!
Although Malcolm words often stung with the injustices against blacks
in America, the equally racist views of the Nation of Islam kept him
from accepting any whites as sincere or capable of helping the
situation. For twelve years he preached that the white man was the
devil and the...