Malcolm X's legacy remains strong on the anniversary of his assassination
by Black Cotton Apparel
Activist and religious leader Malcolm X was assassinated on Feb. 21, 1965 in New York City. He was 39 years old.
Malcolm Xwas born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925. His family moved from Nebraska to Michigan when he was six years old following threats from the White supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan, after his father, James Earl Little, a Baptist preacher, preached openly about Black nationalism,according to HISTORY.
Following years in the foster care system (his dad was killed and his mother, Louise Little, was admitted to a mental institution), Malcolm X turned to a life of crime and was sent to prison for a burglary conviction in 1946 when he was 21 years old and living in Boston.
During his six years in prison, he became acquainted with and became a staunch proponent of the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI), a religious and African-American political movement that promoted racial separatism as well as Black nationalism.
After his release from prison, Malcolm X quickly rose through the ranks of the NOI, becoming a minister and its national spokesman and even founding the newspaper Muhammad Speaks (now known as Final Call). His teachings and beliefs were often seen in direct opposition to those of another famed religious leader in the 1950s and 1960s, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
King promoted harmony amongst the Black and White races and nonviolence during the Civil Rights Movement, one Malcolm X initially condemned because of its views on racial integration.
“I am for violence if non-violence means we continue postponing a solution to the American black man’s problem,” he wrote inThe Autobiography of Malcolm X.