Who was Malcolm X?
Malcolm X was one of the most prominent figures during the Civil Rights Movement. As he passionately spoke at protests and rallies, he was the voice for Black Americans amidst their struggle with constant oppression.
Born in 1925, Malcolm X was an African American Muslim who played a critical role during the civil rights movement. After he was released from prison, he strived to deliver the message that everyone has the power to change their destiny, while also giving his audience insight into his own story in the past.
Before Malcolm X became a civil rights leader, he had spent six-and-a-half years in prison and soon underwent a spiritual transformation. This time spent was a period of religious and intellectual growth for him.
The strategies that Malcolm X used to protest were quite different from other civil rights leaders at the time. He encouraged self-armed defense and alerted black Americans to defend themselves against white aggression.
You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”
— Malcom X
Malcolm X was also a prominent leader in the Nation of Islam, a religious organization that was known for expressing different components of traditional Islam with Black nationalist ideas. Malcolm later broke ties with the organization in December 1963 and stated that the black Muslim movement “had gone as far as it can, because it was too sectarian and too inhibited.”
Throughout Malcolm’s childhood, he and his family would receive racist abuse from the Ku Klux Klan which resulted in them moving around to avoid getting attacked. Malcolm’s father was also killed by what was ruled a streetcar accident, though many believed it was a planned attack. This was what mainly inspired him to join the civil rights movement.
What made Malcolm X critical to the progression of the civil rights movement was his ambition—it made him challenge himself to oppressors that didn’t stand for the freedom of all races.
Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965 as he began his speech in New York City. A confession letter from a former cop was recently released to the public a day before the 56th anniversary of his death claiming the FBI and NYPD were the perpetrators behind Malcolm X’s Killing.
As of today, Malcolm X is remembered as one of the most significant figures that fought to advance the civil rights of African Americans in the United States.