Malcolm Little was born on May 19th, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. Malcolm’s mother, Louise Little, was a homemaker that stayed very busy with Malcolm and his seven other siblings. Malcolm’s father, Earl Little, was a Baptist minister and a civil rights activist. His activism drew a lot of attention to their family causing the the Black Legion, a white supremacist group, to send death threats to their family. Their family had to move twice before Malcolm was 4 years old. In 1931, Earl Little was found dead along the trolley tracks in the town they lived in. Not long after, Louise Little was sent to a mental institution because of breakdowns from losing her husband. Then, Malcolm and his other siblings were all sent to different foster homes and orphanages causing them to be split up from each other.
Malcolm Little and his friend Malcolm Jarvis moved to Boston. Later on in 1946, they were arrested. Malcolm Little was sentenced to 10 years and was paroled after doing 7 years. During Little’s time, his brother Reginald would visit him and tell Malcolm about the conversion he had to the Muslim religion. Fascinated by what his brother had told him, he began to study the teachings of the Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. Muhammad taught that white society worked to keep African-Americans from being successful. The Nation of Islam also fought for a state of their own, not inhabited by “white” people. During Malcolm’s conversion, he switched his name from Malcolm Little to Malcolm X. He did so because he thought of Little as a slave name, so he chose “X” to signify his lost tribal name.
Malcolm X was later appointed as a minister. Elijah Muhammad wanted him to spread the word of the Nation of Islam across the United States. Muhammad also wanted X to establish new mosques. Malcolm X’s efforts really boosted the Nation of Islam. The nation started out with 500 members in 1952 and grew to an outstanding 30,000 members by the time 1963 came around.
In 1963, Malcolm X had found out that his mentor, Elijah Muhammad, was having relations with up to 6 women from the Nation of Islam, and some of the relations had resulted in children, which was against Muhammad’s teachings that Malcolm X strictly abided by. Malcolm X was hurt to find out that Muhammad went against his own teachings. Muhammad asked Malcolm X to help cover up the the affairs, but Malcolm X refused. Once all that happened, Malcolm X was “silenced” by Muhammad. Malcolm X then left the Nation of Islam and founded his own organization called the Muslim Mosque Inc. During the same year that he created his new organization, he went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
FBI members working undercover in the Nation of Islam had been sent to assassinate Malcolm X a few times but were unsuccessful. Malcolm X knew that people were after him but he still didn’t travel places with bodyguards. On February 14th, 1965, Malcolm and his family were at their house when it was firebombed. The family luckily escaped without injury. One week later, Malcolm X was speaking at Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom when 3 men rushed on stage and shot him 15 times. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The 3 men who shot Malcolm X were all convicted of first degree murder and were all a part of the Nation of Islam.