According to Biography.com, Malcolm X is important because he was one of the most prominent and controversial black leaders during the civil rights era of the 1950s and 1960s, advocating black pride, a separate black community and violence as a means of self-defense. After his assassination in 1965, his book "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" became a bestseller and one of the most influential non-fiction books of modern times.Continue Reading
Incarcerated for larceny in 1946, Malcolm X self-educated himself in the prison library. While still in prison he converted to the Nation of Islam, a black Muslim movement, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. When he was released in 1952, he began to work with Elijah Muhammad, the Nation of Islam's leader. Malcolm X became a powerful and inspirational orator and one of the major black leaders opposing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of non-violent racial integration.
In 1963, Malcolm X broke with Elijah Muhammad, shocked by his mentor's hypocrisy and immorality in fathering several illegitimate children, according to Biography.com. In 1964, Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam and journeyed to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to perform hajj. While travelling through Africa and the Middle East, he began to re-evaluate his beliefs. When he returned to the United States, he advocated a less violent approach to race relations and appeared close to reconciling with the mainstream civil rights movement. However, on Feb. 21, 1965, just as he was about to deliver a speech, three members of the Nation of Islam shot and killed him.Learn more about US History
The three people who were convicted in the assassination of Malcolm X were Thomas Hagan, Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Kahlil Islam. Hagan is the only one who has admitted to killing Malcolm X. Aziz and Islam have maintained their innocence, and Hagan has said they were not involved.Full Answer >
According to About.com, Malcom X began fighting against integration and for a separate black community after joining the Nation of Islam. He believed in the use of violence and carried a message of black pride in the face of what he saw as evil coming from white men.Full Answer >
Malcolm X and his wife Betty Shabazz had six children together, all daughters. Their names are Qubila, Ilyasah, Attallah, Gamilah, Malaak and Malikah. Malaak and Malikah are twins.Full Answer >
Malcolm X had seven siblings: Wilfred, Hilda, Philbert, Reginald, Wesley, Yvonne and Robert. He also had three half-siblings through his father: Ella, Mary and Earl Jr.Full Answer >