He was an American Muslim minister and a human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans; detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence. He has been so-called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.
Malcolm X was effectively orphaned early in life. His father was killed when he was six and his mother was placed in a mental hospital when he was thirteen, after which he lived in a series of foster homes. In 1946, at age 20, he went to prison for larceny and breaking and entering. While in prison, Malcolm X became a member of the Nation of Islam, and after his parole in 1952, quickly rose to become one of the organization’s most influential leaders, serving as the public face of the controversial group for a dozen years. In his autobiography, Malcolm X wrote proudly of some of the social achievements the Nation made while he was a member, particularly its free-of-cost drug rehabilitation program. In keeping with the Nation’s teachings, he promoted black supremacy, advocated the separation of black and white Americans, and rejected the civil rights movement for their emphasis on integration.
On this video, you can see a little bit of what his message was:
By March 1964, Malcolm X had grown disillusioned with the Nation of Islam and its leader Elijah Muhammad. Expressing many regrets about his time with them, which he had come to regard as largely wasted, he embraced Sunni Islam. After a period of travel in Africa and the Middle East which included completing the Hajj, he repudiated the Nation of Islam, disavowed racism and founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. He continued to emphasize Pan-Africanism, black self-determination, and black self-defense.
Malcom X did not quite agree with how Martin Luther King, Jr. led black people during Civil Rights. Apparently, Malcom X did not like the idea of non-violent protests. He also compared Rev. MLK with the Uncle Tom during Plantation old days. This video below shows parts of their controversial debates:
Extra Information: UNCLE TOM – 1. a black person who is eager to win the approval of white people and willing to cooperate with them; 2. a member of a low-status group who is overly subservient to or cooperative with authority. The Uncle Tom had the same position as the “capitães-do-mato” in Brazil.
For further information, I recommend the reading of this following website. Click on the link below:
When “Uncle Tom” Became an Insult
However, Malcom X and Martin Luther King, Jr. made peace and started to get along with each other. You can watch this video below in Portuguese that will summarize his life and deeds. Click on Malcom X – Se estivesse vivo, estaria com 90 anos to watch the video.
However, I would recommend you this video below so that you can see for yourself what the ideas were. By the way, do you know why Malcom Little added X to his name?
In February, 1965 he was assassinated by three Nation of Islam members. Some will say Honorable Elijah Muhammad is behind that crime. True or not, NOI’s image has been stained.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, published shortly after his death, is considered one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century.
Well, if you had to take a side, which would you take: Martin Luther King’s or Malcom X’s?
This material has been selected, adapted, and put together by Rodrigo P. Honorato