Who Was Malcolm X? Essay

1464 words - 6 pages

Malcolm Little, formerly known as Malcolm X or El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was born in Omaha, Nebraska on May 19,1925. Malcolm was the fourth of eight children born to Louise and Earl Little. His father Earl Little was an outspoken Baptist minister who was a devoted follower of Marcus Garvey, because of this the Little family would receive many death threats from white supremacist groups and was forced to relocate multiple times. In 1929 the Little home was burned to the ground by a racist mob, and the towns all-white emergency responders just watched and refused to help.
Two years after their home had been burned down, in 1931, things got much, much worse. Earl Little's dead body was discovered laid out on the municipal streetcar tracks. Although Malcolm X's father was very likely murdered by white supremacists, from whom he had received frequent death threats, the police officially ruled his death a suicide, thereby voiding the large life insurance policy he had purchased in order to provide for his family in the event of his death. Malcolm X's mother never recovered from the shock and grief of her husband's death. In 1937, she was committed to a mental institution and Malcolm X left home to live with family friends.
Malcolm X’s big turning point came in his childhood, in 1939, when his English teacher asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up and he answered that he wanted to be a lawyer. His teacher responded, "One of life's first needs is for us to be realistic,you need to think of something you can be,why don't you plan on carpentry?" That response affected Malcolm tremendously. Malcolm then took that response into meaning that there is no point in a black child trying to further their education. That following year he dropped out of school at the tender age of fifteen.
Upon dropping out of school Malcolm X moved to Boston with his older half-sister, Ella. Once in Boston Ella got Malcolm a job shining shoes at the Roseland Ballroom. However eventually Malcolm turned to selling drugs. In time he got another job as kitchen help on the Yankee Clipper train between New York and Boston but then unfortunately fell further down the drug and crime ring. Be fell more into the life of crime in order to financially upkeep the lavish lifestyle he enjoyed. This phase of Malcolm X's life came to a standstill in 1946, when he was arrested on charges of larceny and sentenced to ten years in jail.
As Malcolm was serving his time in jail he started devouring books from the prison library in an attempt make up for the years of education he had missed by dropping out of high school. While in prison, he was visited by several siblings who had recently joined to the Nation of Islam. The Nation of Islam is a small sect of black Muslims who embraced the ideology of black nationalism—the idea that in order to secure freedom, justice and equality, black Americans needed to establish their own state entirely separate from white Americans. Malcolm X then...

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