“Malcolm X May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965), born Malcolm Little and later also known as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, was an African-American Muslim minister and 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 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. He served 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 drug rehabilitation program. The Nation promoted black supremacy, advocated the separation of black and white Americans, and rejected the civil rights movement for its emphasis on integration.
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.”
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- The Autobiography of Malcolm X. With the assistance of Alex Haley. New York: Grove Press, 1965.
- Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements. George Breitman, ed. New York: Merit Publishers, 1965.
- Malcolm X Talks to Young People. New York: Young Socialist Alliance, 1965.
- Two Speeches by Malcolm X. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1965.
- Malcolm X on Afro-American History. New York: Merit Publishers, 1967.
- The Speeches of Malcolm X at Harvard. Archie Epps, ed. New York: Morrow, 1968.
- By Any Means Necessary: Speeches, Interviews, and a Letter by Malcolm X. George Breitman, ed. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970.
- The End of White World Supremacy: Four Speeches by Malcolm X. Benjamin Karim, ed. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1971.
- The Last Speeches. Bruce Perry, ed. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1989.
- Malcolm X Talks to Young People: Speeches in the United States, Britain, and Africa. Steve Clark, ed. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1991.
- February 1965: The Final Speeches. Steve Clark, ed. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1992.
- The Diary of Malcolm X: 1964. Herb Boyd and Ilyasah Shabazz, eds. Chicago: Third World Press, 2013.