Today's Birthdays: May 19
1925–65, militant black leader in the United States.
Also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, born in Malcolm Little in Omaha, Neb. He was introduced to the Black Muslims while serving a prison term and became a Muslim minister upon his release in 1952. He quickly became very prominent in the movement with a following perhaps equalling that of its leader, Elijah Muhammad. In 1963, Malcolm was suspended by Elijah after a speech in which Malcolm suggested that President Kennedy's assassination was a matter of the “chickens coming home to roost.” He then formed a rival organization of his own, the Muslim Mosque, Inc. In 1964, after a pilgrimage to Mecca, he announced his conversion to orthodox Islam and his new belief that there could be brotherhood between black and white. In his Organization of Afro-American Unity, formed after his return, the tone was still that of militant black nationalism but no longer of separation. In Feb., 1965, he was shot and killed in a public auditorium in New York City. His assassins were vaguely identified as Black Muslims, but this is a matter of controversy.
See his autobiography (as told to Alex Haley, 1964) and selected speeches, Malcolm X Speaks (1965); biographies by Peter Goldman (1973) and Bruce Perry (1992); J. H. Clarke, ed., Malcolm X (1969).
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