LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC/WPGC) — Malcolm X has an interesting place in American history: Some see him as a fighter for equal rights, while others saw him as a preacher of violence and racism.
Born Malcolm Little in 1925, he was the son of a homemaker and baptist minister. Little’s father was an outspoken proponent for civil rights and the subject of death threats from white supremacy groups.
After the murder of this father, Little and the rest of his siblings were placed into foster care following their mother’s emotional breakdown.
Little became involved with drugs and prostitution by 1942 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1946.
During his time in prison he was introduced the Nation of Islam. Upon his parole in 1952 he changed his last name to “X”.
“X” rose quickly within the ranks of the Nation of Islam and spoke passionately about black supremacy. However, in 1964 he broke away from the group and dedicated himself to working with civil rights leaders and progressing the movement.
He was assassinated by three Nation of Islam members in 1965.
Check back all month for WPGC’s tribute to Black History Month.