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When Malcolm X was murdered in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on February 21, 1965, he was world-famous as "the angriest black man in America." By that time he had completed his autobiography, so we have now the opportunity to get information of this both hated and loved Afro-American leaderís life at first hand. The book "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," which he wrote with the assistance of Alex Haley, was first published in 1965.
The setting for the Civil Rights Acts. In the years around 1960, the American Negroes became increasingly active in the struggle for civil rights. The liberal, intellectual Afro-American leaders such as Martin Luther King and their supporters, who fought for equality of and integration among black and white, had participated in freedom rides and protest marches to finally abolish segregation. But suddenly, they faced opposition from not one, but two parties advocating racism and segregation: The white racists and the so-called Black Muslims. This radical Negro cult called "Nation of Islam" became in an astonishing short time a nation-wide movement and a threat to the White society, because of its radical principles such as "the white man is the devil" and its enormous popularity. The leader of the movement was the self-nominated "Messenger of Allah", Elijah Muhammad. But the man who made the radical group popular was his minister Malcolm X. He gathered huge crowds of black people and convinced them in eloquent speeches that all whites were evil. The phenomenon Malcolm X became one of the most popular Afro-American leaders in a short time. Although he was dismissed by his leader Muhammad, his popularity did not diminish. When he was assassinated by Black Muslims in 1965, newspapers all over the world paid tribute to him as a great Negro leader. The world-wide support for Malcolm X increased enormously again when Spike Leeís movie was shown in the cinemas about a quarter of a century after his death. Thousands of black people all over the world could be seen wearing black baseball caps with a big white "X" on it, meaning that black Afro-Americans, who had lost their original surnames, were no longer willing to bear their former slavemasterís name.
Malcolm's Life May 19, 1925 - Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska 1940 - Drops out of school at age 15 1946 - Convicted of burglary and sent to prison 1949 - 1951 - Studies the Nation of Islam 1952 - Leaves prison, dedicates himself to Nation of Islam, changes name to Malcolm X Jan. 14, 1958 - Marries Betty X Dec. 4, 1963 - Suspended from the Nation of Islam March 1964 - Leaves Nation of Islam, starts the Muslim Mosque, Inc. Apr. 22, 1964 - Makes his Hajj and becomes El-Hajj Malik al-Shabazz Jun. 28, 1964 - Forms the Organization of Afro-American Unity Jul. 17, 1964 - Speaks at the Organization of African Unity in Cairo Aug. 13, 1964 - U.S. State and Justice Departments take notice of his influence on African leaders at the U.N. Feb 21, 1965 - Al Hajj Malik assassinated in New York
Some kinds of the nonviolent resistance that Malcolm X and others used in those hectic times.
Nonviolent Resistance in the Book Non-violent resistance was a tactic that was first used by Indian Nationalist leader Mahatma Gandhi. In the 1920's, during the Indian Independence movement, Gandhi organized a national "civil disobedience" movement that sought to defy British rule. The movement included non-violent tactics, many of which served as models for the later civil rights movement. Boycotts of British goods and services were organized, including Indian children being withdrawn from government schools. " Sit-ins" were started as Indians sat in streets and refused to rise even when beaten by police. Gandhi was arrested, but the British were soon forced to release him. Black rights advocates in America later used many similar tactics in their struggle for equality in the civil rights movement. Malcolm X based his movement in the Nation of Islam on the basis that violence is an option. He did not support integration, but rather realized that the blacks and the whites would never truly be equal. For this reason, Malcolm X saw whites as the enemy, and did not restrict violence towards them. Malcolm X created a group of black men, known as the "Fruit of Islam," who was all well trained in judo. Whites generally saw this group as a threat, and many believed that the "Black Muslims" were preparing for war. Malcolm X, also, did not support Martin Luther King's "passive" form of resistance, and supported greater action. These views that Malcolm possessed did not last long, however. When Malcolm left the Nation of Islam, he slowly began to realize that whites were not truly the enemy, and he began to support the non-violent movements. After breaking off from the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X gained greater respect for King, and also shunned his earlier ideas of violence towards whites. Near the end of his life, Malcolm X was just beginning to realize the benefits of non-violent protest.
This is the Malcolm X timeline.YEAR EVENT 1925 Born in Omaha, Nebraska, May 19 1940 Moves to Boston 1941-1946 Small-time hustler in Harlem 1946 Arrested for burglary, sentenced to ten years in prison 1947-1952 Introduced to Islam, converts 1952 Released from prison, joins Nation of Islam, becoming minister 1957 Founds influential Black Muslim publication Muhammad Speaks 1959 Broadcast documentary "The Hate that Hate Produced" C. Eric Lincoln's Black Muslim in America appear 1963 With Alex Haley, begins collaboration on the Autobiography of Malcolm X President John F. Kennedy assassinated 1964 Breaks with Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam Founds the Muslim Mosque, Inc., and later the Organization of Afro-American Unity Makes pilgrimage to Mecca 1965 Assassinated February 21 at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City