When it comes to African American history, the world knows the amount and types of issues that this community has faced and continues to face to this day. A lot of people have suffered attacks with the bases of racism leading the problem. One of the biggest issues that the black community had to face in the past was slavery.
And, many black people have possessed enough courage within themselves to stand up and confront their abusive white counterpart. Thanks to incredible social movements, the African American community has gained their freedom and their rights as part of the society.
Even though the fight is not over yet, they surely have accomplished an enormous progress and they haven’t given up. The black community has had the presence and leadership of incredible men and women that have been willing to lead movements with the goal of obtaining a better quality of life for all African Americans. And plenty of those people were so fully compromised that they were murdered defending causes they believed in.
Who was Malcolm X?
One of these important and transcendent people was Malcolm X. He is a big reference in African American history, and he had a story quite different from other black leaders. Since the beginning of his life until the day he was shot and killed.
Malcolm Little was born in 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. He had an intensely conflictive and controversial life since the very start. His family had to be moving from house to house since he was a little boy due to racial aggressions they were constantly receiving. As a consequence of one of the aggressions, Malcolm’s father was murdered in 1931.
His mother clinically lost her mind and was sent to a psychiatric hospital after she lost the custody of her children. Malcolm left to New York at a very young age and was living off the criminality of the streets. He became a thief and a drug dealer for some years, until the day he was captured by the police and condemned to seven years in jail.
Once he was in jail, he began to change his intentions and his way of thinking about life and he wanted to do with his. He left his drug addictions and began to study while in prison. There, he met other black men who told him about a religious movement called “NOI” that stands for Nation of Islam.
Malcolm was deeply moved and convinced by the ideology of the movement and he decided to follow it in a big scale. He got in contact with the founder of the religious movement and many of their most important leaders at that time.
The Nation of Islam is a religious and political movement that strongly believes that black people are superior to white people. Not only that, but they also have the conviction that those who are white are devils.
When he began his path with the Nation of Islam was when he made the decision of changing his original last name, “Little”, and substitute it with the letter “X”. It is believed that the “X” was the original last name of African predecessors that had been lost with white dominance.
He no longer wanted anything to do with anything that came from white people, not even his last name. As he stated in an occasion, white people were certainly devils because of their actions; murder, slavery, steal, rape and use bombs against others. He was soon a true follower of the idea that black people were superior to white people and that their disappearance was imminent.
After years of following the leader of the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X reached a point where he no longer coincided with every aspect of the movement. Soon enough he started to receive death threats because of this reason.
His ideas started to transform into ones that still believed in the need for black people to defend themselves in any way possible, with or without the support of government, but now he had begun to embrace the fact of equality and eradicate the idea of racial separation.
He started his own movement with the help of the lessons from Islam and his trips to the Mecca to deepen his understanding of the religion. This international experience along with others, contributed to his changing of mind. He continued with the defense of all African Americans until the day he was shot 16 times in the chest, during a meeting on February 21st 1965, after being threatened anonymously and publicly many times before.