Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little, later el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz; May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965) was an American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a prominent figure during the civil rights movement. A spokesman for the Nation of Islam until 1964, he was a vocal advocate for Black empowerment and the promotion of Islam within the Black community. A posthumous autobiography, on which he collaborated with Alex Haley, was published in 1965.
Malcolm spent his adolescence living in a series of foster homes or with relatives after his father’s death and his mother’s hospitalization. He committed various crimes, being sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1946 for larceny and burglary. In prison he joined the Nation of Islam (adopting the name Malcolm X to symbolize his unknown African ancestral surname while discarding “the White slavemaster name of ‘Little’”), and after his parole in 1952 quickly became one of the organization’s most influential leaders.
He was the public face of the organization for 12 years, advocating Black empowerment and separation of Black and White Americans, and criticizing Martin Luther King Jr. and the mainstream civil rights movement for its emphasis on nonviolence and racial integration. Malcolm X also expressed pride in some of the Nation’s social welfare achievements, such as its free drug rehabilitation program. From the 1950s onward, Malcolm X was subjected to surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
In the 1960s, Malcolm X began to grow disillusioned with the Nation of Islam, as well as with its leader, Elijah Muhammad. He subsequently embraced Sunni Islam and the civil rights movement after completing the Hajj to Mecca, and became known as “el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz,”which roughly translates to “The Pilgrim Malcolm the Patriarch”. After a brief period of travel across Africa, he publicly renounced the Nation of Islam and founded the Islamic Muslim Mosque, Inc. (MMI) and the Pan-African Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU).
When life in Harlem becomes too dangerous, Malcolm returns to Boston, where he becomes a house burglar and is eventually arrested. In prison, Malcolm transforms himself, converting to the branch of Islam promoted by the Nation of Islam, which has already converted a number of Malcolm’s siblings. Inspired by the faith, Malcolm stops using drugs; he reads voraciously, prays, studies English and Latin, and joins the prison debate team.
According to history.com; en.wikipedia.org. Source of photos: internet