Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.
The future belongs to those who prepare for it today. Malcolm X
Malcolm X’s real last name was Little. He was born in Omaha, NE, in May of 1925. Malcolm’s father was an active member of several associations that promoted equality for blacks.
When Malcolm was little, his family was harassed by the Ku Klux Klan, a group of people who did not believe in freedom for all. The Little family moved to East Lansing in Michigan, hoping to find some peace from the Ku Klux Klan.
But no peace was found in Michigan. White racists set the Little’s house on fire, and, while the firemen and policemen dutifully came, they did nothing to stop the fire.
Malcolm’s father died two years after the house was burned down, and Malcolm’s mother was overwhelmed with grief and entered into a mental institution. Malcolm, who at the time was seven, went to go live with family friends.
Malcolm was the only black student in his school, but he was popular and was elected class president. However, he dropped out of school after his teacher shot down his dreams of becoming a lawyer.
When Malcolm was nine, he began robbing stores and eventually spent six and half years in jail.
Malcolm’s brother, Reginald, came and visited Malcolm in prison. He told him that there was a way he could get him out. He told Malcolm to stop eating pork. Malcolm was confused, but did as his brother told him.
Reginald’s plan was to have Malcolm join the Nation of Islam, a.k.a ‘Black Muslims’. Their teaching taught that the white man was the devil, and that there should be separation of races. Malcolm was quite willing to believe this and joined the organization. This is when he also took the surname, or sur-letter in this instance, ‘X’.
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Malcolm met Elijah Muhammad, who was the leader of the Nation of Islam. He saw Muhammad as his savior.
In 1958, at the age of 33, Malcolm X married Betty X, who was also a member of the Nation of Islam. They had six children together, Attallah, Qubilah, Ilyasah, Gamilah, Malikah, and Malaak.
A few movies were made about the Black Muslims, and they began to be recognized in America. Malcolm X was the spokesman for them, and he was hated by the white people in America. Some of the people in his congregation confessed that they had been asked to kill him.
Malcolm made a trip to Mecca, and while he was on his journey, he realized that being a white man did not make the man evil. Being white was not wrong. What was wrong was the attitude and behavior of the white man. He realized that instead of teaching that the white man was evil, he should be teaching that everyone was the same to God. He should be teaching the ‘Oneness of Man’ and the ‘Oneness of God’.
Although Malcolm’s new philosophy was not very popular, he started to give speeches at different cities and in different countries.
In 1965, in Harlem, Malcolm X was shot numerous times from the audience and was killed.
After his assassination, Malcolm X became more popular. His book, ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’ definitely helped his popularity.