Black History Month: Malcolm X

Brittani Langland

By Nick Deerberg

On May 19, 1925, Malcolm X (Known in his earlier life as Malcolm Little) was born in Omaha, Nebraska. During his early years, his family was forced to move very often to avoid a white supremacist group known as Black Legion. The efforts to avoid them proved futile when their house burned down and Little’s father was found dead by railroad tracks. His mother was soon placed in a mental hospital, resulting in Little and his 7 siblings being split up.

Little was a prodigy in school but decided to drop out when a teacher told him he couldn’t achieve his dreams because of his race. He then turned to a life of crime, eventually putting him in prison for seven years. In prison, his brother Reginald taught Little about the Muslim religion, and eventually Little joined the Nation of Islam. To embrace his lost tribal name, Malcolm changed his last name from Little to X, considering Little to be a slave name.

X gained nationwide fame being a spokesperson for the NOI, but after a test of faith he disbanded from the NOI and created his own religious group, the Muslim Mosque, Inc.

Soon after, X took a pilgrimage to Mecca and encountered people of all different races who he had been friendly with. When returning to America, X spoke not only to African-Americans, but to all races about peace.

During a speech on February 21, 1965, X was gunned down by three NOI members in Manhattan.

All images used legally by/from AP images.