Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) was an influential African-American leader of
the 1960s. Initially, he was a member of the Nation of Islam, which
advocated the separation of black and white Americans. He later
converted to Sunni Islam and founded the Organization of Afro-American
Malcolm X advocated Pan-Africanism and black self-determination. Unlike
the mainstream civil rights movement, Malcolm X rejected the philosophy
of non-violence and defended the judicial use of self-defense.
He was assassinated on February 21, 1965.
“Let the government know that if they don’t stop the Klan, we’ll stop
it ourselves.. by any means necessary… Now.. the press calls us racist
and people who are violent in reverse… Well, if a criminal comes around
your house with his gun, brother.. it doesn’t make you a robber because
you grab your gun and run him out.”
Malcolm Little was born in Omaha, Nebraska, May 19, 1925. His father
was a Baptist preacher and staunch supporter of Marcus Garvey – a
radical exponent of black rights. Later, Malcolm’s father was murdered
As a youngster, he was shocked when he told his teacher he wished to
become a lawyer. His teacher responded. “Lawyer, that’s no realistic
goal for a nigger… Why don’t you plan on carpentry?”
Malcolm said that after that sobering experience his attitude to the
white establishment soured.
As a teenager, Malcolm became heavily involved in selling drugs in
Harlem’s criminal world. He was often on the run from the police, and
at age 21 he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in Charlestown State
Prison. He gained a nickname ‘Satan’ for his anti-religious attitude.
However, during his time in prison, he became increasingly receptive to
the message of Islam brought to him by his brother Reginald.
On release from prison, he became closely involved with the Nation of
Islam under Elijah Muhammad. Possessing powerful skills of oratory and
persuasion, Malcolm X was made the minister for the Nation of Islam’s
New York Temple.
The Nation of Islam became an important faction in the civil rights
movement. They were more militant than the non-violent civil rights
movement and were often criticized for being unpatriotic.
Malcolm X said about being American. “Sitting at the table [with
nothing to eat] doesn’t make you a diner. Being here in America doesn’t
make you an American”
In 1963, Malcolm X split from the Nation of Islam after revelations of
the leader Elijah Muhammad having fathered children with former
secretaries. His decision to leave created great animosity, and he
received many threats in the next few years.
“It is incorrect to classify the revolt of the Negroes as simply a
racial conflict of black against white.. Rather we are today seeing
a global rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressor, the exploited
against the exploited…”
– Malcolm X
He made a pilgrimage to Mecca and travelled around the world becoming an
international celebrity. He was struck by the degree of interracial
harmony in the rest of the world.
On February 21, 1965, he was assassinated in New York, by members of
the Nation of Islam.
As he did in life on earth, he reveals much to us as a Light Being, never
pulling a punch and telling us about the mutation many would rather not
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