Malcolm X All men are created equal. This statement was the basis of the civil right movements of the 1960’s. Malcom X is a man that promoted a society in which all human beings were equally respected. He believes that blacks should achieve that goal by any means necessary. In a time when blacks were not allowed to sit in the front of the bus, using the same bathroom, or were not admitted to Universities.
Malcom X’s cry of justice was believed to be the voice of all blacks behind closed doors. Malcom Little grew up as poor and did not have much parental support. His father was run over by a street car when he was six. Soon after his father’s death, his mother was put in a mental hospital. He grew up in East Lansing and Boston.
He was a pimp, a hustler, drug user, and a drug dealer. He worked in the Harlem underworld and was almost killed by his boss after he betrayed him. Malcom turned to robbery and was caught by the police and sentenced to 10 years of hard labor. While in jail, he was introduced to the Nation of Islam, a Black Muslim group, and changed his name to Malcom X. The X replaced the slave name that was given by the white masters and stands for the his real name that he never knew. After his release from prison he started preaching for the Nation of Islam (NOI).
His preaching was known for its hatred overtone. He describes America as a house with a “bomb” inside and it is about to explode. Unless the white people want the house to explode and kill everyone inside, they should take the bomb out and give it a house of their own. His speeches were very popular among angry blacks and he was frequently on the front page of the newspaper. It was rumored that other Nation of Islam members were jealous about his popularity and worried about the power he was gaining.
After the JFK assassination, Malcom stated: “President Kennedy never foresaw that the chickens would come home to roost so soon.. Being an old farm boy myself, chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad; they always made me glad.” After many death calls from irritated Whites, The Nation of Islam started to distance themselves from Malcom. There was already friction between The Nation of Islam and they did not want the Nation of Islam to get a bad name because of Malcom. Feeling pressure to leave and felt betrayed by his church, he started the Organization of Afro-American Unity. They had the commitment to “doing whatever is necessary to bring the Negro struggle from the level of civil rights to the level of human rights.” While making a speech in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on Feb 21, 1965 he was assassinated by 3 persons all belonging to the NOI.
Whether you like him or not, Malcom X was charismatic leader that said the many things that had to be said in the midst of the civil rights movement. “By any means necessary! I’m for freedom. I’m for a society in which our people are recognized and respected as human beings, and I believe that we have the right to resort to any means necessary to bring that about.” -Malcom X, interview with Claude Lewis (December 1964) This statement and others helped propel the recognition of prejudice in the heart of America. Whenever I research into a past leader I always feel a great sadness that a great mind has perished with the person. But in this one case, there is a small sense of relief.
Violence bleeds violence. 3 men whom he has preached gunned down a man that has preached violence to advance his cause. They stood over his body and emptied their guns. I hope all people can learn from this and move forward together as a nation in peace.