The Muslim, Human Activist and One of the Most Influential Afro-Americans of All Time
Malcolm X has been one of the most influential people in America. He was an Afro-American, a Muslim, and a human rights activist. Recently I finished reading his autobiography and I’m telling you, the story of his life is incredible.
It’s incredible how he changed so much from something to someone. Looking at how he spent his teenage life to his early twenties it’s impossible to think that one day he would be a firm Muslim and convert millions of people to Islam in just two months. And here is the basic summary of his life.
He was born on May 19th, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska, the fourth of seven children. His father died – or was murdered – in a ‘car accident.’ Though suspicions from his mother were that he was murdered by the Black Legion. Malcolm attended school till eighth grade and then left it because he was disappointed when one of his teachers told him that he wouldn’t be able to achieve going into law and becoming a lawyer (like he wanted to).
Soon after this incident, he went to Boston to live with his elder stepsister, Ella. There he worked some odd-jobs here and there. After a year or something, he decided to leave and go live in New York.
There he got into gambling smoking, drugs, thievery and even armed robbery. He spent plenty of time there.
In late 1945 he returned to Boston and continued with his trade of robbery, stealing from wealthy, white families. In 1946, he got arrested while picking up a stolen watch he had left at a shop for repairs.
This led to a sentence for eight-to-ten years in jail. During his time there, Malcolm’s family often used to visit him and send him letters. Then this letter came from one of his brothers telling Malcolm about the new religion they had embraced. It was called ‘Islam,’ (remember that this is the ‘Islam’ that the false prophet in America bough, he used to call it Islam as well) and was taught by a person named ‘Elijah Muhammad.’ So basically, he considered the white people in America ‘devils’ and was completely against them. Along with a bunch of other beliefs, of course.
Malcolm got attracted to it because the idea of being against the whites appealed to him. And because his brother wrote to him saying ‘Malcolm, don’t eat any more pork and don’t smoke any more cigarettes. I’ll show you how to get out of prison.’
So basically then, he accepted it.
Which I guess I don’t really blame him for.
His sister (or brother) told him that Elijah was coming over to the city where they lived, and planned to stay in their house. So she advised Malcolm to send letters to Elijah during his stay there. To get a better understanding of that religion and get acquainted with the founder. He (Malcolm) found that idea interesting and decided to do what she told him to.
When he sat down to write a letter, he suddenly came to the realization that yeah, he could write, But his language was too foul, (that came from all his life on the street) his writing skills were terrible, and he was unable to express himself in words. This discovery made him rather ashamed of himself so he set about to learn properly. There was this prison library where they were there was an assortment of multiple books. He somehow got hold of a dictionary, and decided to start writing it. He literally wrote the whole thing down on paper. The whole big dictionary.
This helped in improving his vocabulary and his handwriting. He started to read, read all the time. Even at night. His general knowledge increased along with all the other benefits of reading.
Then, when his sentence in prison ended, he started to meet up with Elijah regularly, soon – because he was so faithful – became one of his biggest ministers. He ended up influencing hundreds of Afro-Americans to this religion because of his amazing speaking skills.
After a couple of years, he got married to another follower of this religion, (Elijah and everyone else calls it ‘Islam’ but I’m avoiding it) Betty X.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, he went to Hajj in 1964. And there was where and when he converted to Islam. The beauty of brotherhood seen and experienced amazed him. White, black, brown all were together. All came for the same reason, all treated each other respectfully like brothers. Quite unlike what he had learnt in the past religion. That was full of racism – and I may add that most of the teaching makes no sense whatsoever – and while it united the Afro-Americans, it created the thought that they’re the best and that the whites are – as I said before – ‘devils.’
So he converted to Islam. And like he had been a strong follower of the former religion, he was a strong Muslim. He was the reason for converting- yet again – millions of people to Islam in just two months (two months because after that he was murdered.)
He died in February 1965. Or in other words, was murdered. Assassinated. Not really surprising I suppose, considering all he did. This is how he died (copied from Wikipedia):
On February 19, 1965, Malcolm X told interviewer Gordon Parks that the Nation of Islam was actively trying to kill him. On February 21, 1965, he was preparing to address the OAAU in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom when someone in the 400-person audience yelled, “Nigger! Get your hand outta my pocket! As Malcolm X and his bodyguards tried to quell the disturbance, a man rushed forward and shot him once in the chest with a sawed-off shotgun and two other men charged the stage firing semi-automatic handguns. Malcolm X was pronounced dead at 3:30 pm, shortly after arriving at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. The autopsy identified 21 gunshot wounds to the chest, left shoulder, arms and legs, including ten buckshot wounds from the initial shotgun blast.