Malcolm X was born on May 19 1925 in Omaha Nebraska under a different name, Malcolm Little. Malcolm Little's father was killed when he was still very young and his mother had to raise him and his siblings. Malcolm Little got involved with crime when we was young and ended up in jail soon after his teenage years. It was when he was jail that he discovered the Nation of Islam, a movement that combined aspects of Islam with black nationalism. Soon after he was released from jail he changed his last name from Little to X because he believed his name originated from white slave owners. He soon rose the ranks to become one of the prominent leaders of the movement. He would preach against white America in the harshest for its crimes against african americans. He advocated separation of black and white Americans. However his views started to change over time and only when he went on the muslim pilgrimage to Mecca did abandon the Nation of Islam views. Malcolm X disavowed racism and preached for the cooperation with other civil leaders, however he still believed in black self-determination and self defense.
Malcolm X soon broke from the Nation of Islam. He became a major human rights activist that caught the attention of many including Martin Luther King Jr. However on February 21 1965 while preparing for an address to a crowd he was shot and killed by members of the Nation of Islam. Thousands attended his funeral and only after the widespread release of his autobiography did his legacy truly ignite. He will forever be known as a courageous advocate for the right of African Americans and one of the most influential African American in history. He is credited with raising the self-esteem of black Americans and reconnecting them with their African heritage. I highly suggest everybody go out and read The Autobiography of Malcolm X which introduced me to this very brave hero and character.