Malcolm X was an American civil rights leader and Muslim minister. Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. He sustained a lot of racism which contributed to him being a successful and influential advocator for civil rights. Malcolm X is considered one of the most influential African American leaders in history.
Malcolm was the seventh child out of the eight children of Louise Norton Little and Earl Little. His mother Louise, was a biracial homemaker who could have easily passed for white. His father Earl, was an outspoken Baptist minister and avid supporter of Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, which supports the return of American blacks to Africa. Since Malcolm was the only light skinned son of Earl Little he didn’t get treated harshly as his other siblings. Because of Earl Littles affiliations, their family was the target of many hate crimes that prompted their move to Lansing, Michigan in 1929. Even with the move to Michigan a white supremacist group there burned their house down. Malcolm said watching their house burn down taught him one of many lessons about being black in America. Malcolm realized then that the odds are stacked against blacks, but also learned some positive lessons. When Malcolm was six his father was killed by whites who opposed Earls work for African Americans. The insurance company refused to give his family the money because they said his death was a suicide. His mother Louise goes crazy after her husband’s death, which resulted in her being placed in a mental home and Malcolm and his siblings are separated & placed in foster care. From that point Malcolm’s life is changed forever.
In 1937 Malcolm moves in with a white foster family the Swerlins. While living with the Swerlins Malcolm excelled at everything he could including school. But Malcolm soon came to realize that no matter how well he did, he would never be equal to whites, he began to resent his white foster family and school. He became frustrated with the racial barriers. In 1940 Malcolm goes to spend the summer in Boston with his half-sister, Ella. Malcolm viewed his sisters as a strong black woman with a deep sense of family loyalty. Since things wasn’t going so well at home with the Swerlins in Michigan, he decides to move to Boston with his sister. The Swerlins didn’t understand his decision and he couldn’t explain it to them. Ella stayed in Roxbury a wealthy black neighborhood, thought he was only fifth teen he could pass for older and he began looking for a job. He also runs into his friend from Michigan Shorty, who takes him under his wing.
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Once Malcolm gets to Boston in settles in he once again faces racial stereotyping, but this time it’s from wealthy middle class blacks, who tries to be white and the low class ghetto blacks. Even though Malcolm has experienced racial victimization, once he gets a taste of the high life and starts dating a white girl name Sophia, he comes like a hypocrite. Malcolm has worked different jobs here and there but it’s not in till he lands a job in Harlem where he learns how to hustle. Malcolm finds his self in and out of trouble which causes him a few jobs. Malcolm is smoking weed heavily and doing cocaine. He also has a ruthless reputation. Fed up with the way his life is going, he starts up a burglary operation with some of his friends. They involve a now married Sophia to be the pawn in the white wealthy neighborhoods. All of the burglary comes to and end when he is arrested and sentenced to ten years in prison.
Malcolm begins serving his time in a Massachusetts state prison, Malcolm goes through a period of intellectual growth and religious upheaval. Also during this time, he meets Bimbi, a confident and respectable black inmate. Bimbi begins to teach Malcolm how to think outside the hustler thinking of his younger days. He starts going to the small prison library, where he refines his English and turns his rage into reasoned argument. In 1948, he is transferred to Norfolk Prison Colony, where inmates may study and debate freely. The prison library there is way bigger and he starts studying a variety of subjects like; history, religion, literature, biology, and language. While in prison his brother Reggie, whom had just converted to Islam visits him regularly.