“We are nonviolent with people who are nonviolent with us.” – Malcom X
Malcom X AKA el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz was a minister, human rights activist, and a prominent Black nationalist leader. Malcolm served as a spokesman for the nation of Islam. Because of his efforts in the nation of Islam, the nation grew more than five times when he was released from prison in 1952 to 40,000 members in 1960.
Malcolm X was a gifted speaker and encouraged African Americans to cast off the shackles of racism. One of his famous sayings “by any means necessary” shook America. Unfortunately, Malcolm X broke with Nation of Islam shortly before he was assassinated in 1965 at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, where he was preparing to deliver a speech.
Is there more to Malcom X than that? Let’s dive deeper …
Malcom X’s childhood was destroyed by the death of his father; there were speculation that local white supremacists who threatened his father murdered him. Malcom’s mother took the heaviest blow from the death, she suffered a nervous breakdown that damaged her mentally to the point where she had to be committed to a state psychiatric hospital.
Born as Malcolm Little, Malcolm was the top student and the only African-American in his 8th grade class. Malcolm eventually dropped out of school after a white teacher told him that ” a nigger could never become a lawyer” – which by the way was Malcom’s dream. From there Malcolm’s life changed forever. He became a street hustler, He was arrested in 1946 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Being put in prison was one of the best things that could’ve happened to Malcolm, in fact – if it wasn’t for prison, the Malcolm X you know of today would most likely not exist.
Why would I say “if it wasn’t for prison, the Malcolm X you know of today would most likely not exist”? Let’s take a look at why this statement is so bold and true.
Malcolm X became a new man when he was imprisoned, he was able to change the world because while in prison – he was able to change himself. The way America schools teach you about Malcolm X, they would have you believe that Malcolm is a radical, a racist, instigator or an outlaw. Fortunately, for the people who are able to do their own thinking and do their own research, we know that Malcolm X simply had the courage to stand up to a system of oppression – a system where African Americans were and are still the number one target.
A new man
Coming from a rotten childhood full of danger, Malcolm actually spent 6 years in prison – while in prison Malcolm converted to a religion, Islam, which is a common reaction for jailed individuals looking for change. After being released from modern day slavery, Malcolm accepted a leadership opportunity with the Nation of Islam and that’s when he became the man he was destined to be.
In the Nation of Islam, Malcolm was a star amongst men, he became an international figure and an icon to the Black community. Malcolm had a revolutionary fire in him that was extremely contagious, Malcolm’s love for Black people was stronger than most activist would say they had for them. Unfortunately for Malcolm, the Nation of Islam had other plans. Malcolm and the Nation of Islam eventually parted ways, Malcolm then created the Afro-American Unity. At the end of his life, Malcolm proceeded towards a new goal where he preached “Black consciousness and integration”, many people disagreed with him. People argued that “there can be no integration until Black folks have become economically, financially and psychologically independent.”
Malcolm’s new way of thinking came from when he took a journey to Mecca, the holiest of Muslim shrines. A lot of people disagreed with him but at the same time also gained new supporters. Malcolm went from a “Black Supremacists Group” to wanting to integrate with white folks.
End of Malcolm
Malcolm X died a sudden tragic death at the hand of his own people. A week before his assassination, Malcolm’s home had been firebombed in the middle of the night. Him and his family managed to escape unharmed. Malcolm believed that the people behind the attack were his former colleagues, The Nation of Islam. On a cold day in February, a year after he split from the Nation of Islam, Malcolm checked out of a hotel and went to the Audubon Ballroom in northern Manhattan with his new Organization of Afro-American Unity. After taking the stage, his greeting was barely out of his mouth when a commotion ensued in the back rows and someone yelled “get your hand out of your pocket.” Malcolm told everyone to “be cool” as his bodyguards focused in the scuffle, that opened a path for a man to pull up to Malcolm with a sawed off shotgun blast Malcom to the body as he knocked him backward over a set of chairs. Malcom’s wife, Betty Shabazz covers her four children as the bullets pumped into Malcolm’s body as he slowly fades into a permanent slumber.
If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary – Malcolm X