The Legacy of Malcolm X

Essay by kookookrnboiHigh School, 11th grade February 2005

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Malcolm X was born as Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska . His mother, Louis Norton Little, was a homemaker occupied with the family's eight children. His father, Earl Little, was an outspoken Baptist minister and avid supporter of Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey, who is one of the best-known African leaders in the Western Hemisphere. Malcolm first got a glimpse of black oppression at a very young age when his father's mutilated body was found lying across the town's trolley tracks in Lansing, Michigan, where they were currently staying due to white oppression . His mother, depressed of her husband's death, was taken to a mental institution .

Leaving school at age 13, Malcolm traveled to New York where he sold drugs and turned to the life of burglary; however he was caught in 1946 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. While he was in prison, Malcolm was introduced to Islam by a Black Muslim sect, headed by Elijah Muhammad, and was quickly converted.

Following his parole in 1952, he soon became an outspoken defender of Muslim doctrines, accepting the basic argument that evil was an inherent characteristic of the "white man's Christian world." He also took the name Malcolm X from now on .

Unlike Muhammad, Malcolm sought publicity, making provocative and inflammatory statements to predominantly white civic groups and college campus audiences. Branding white people "devils," he spoke bitterly of a philosophy of vengeance and "an eye for an eye." When, in 1963, he characterized the Kennedy assassination as a case of "chickens coming home to roost," he was suspended from the Black Muslim movement by Elijah Muhammad .

Malcolm X formed his own organizations, the Organization of Afro-American Unity and the Muslim Mosque Inc. In 1964 he made a pilgrimage to...