Essay on Malcolm X

2036 Words Sep 9th, 2003 9 Pages
Malcolm's life is a Horatio Alger story with a twist. His is not a "rags to riches" tale, but a powerful narrative of self-transformation from petty hustler to internationally known political leader. Born in Omaha,
Nebraska, the son of Louise and Earl Little, who was a Baptist preacher active in Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association,
Malcolm, along with his siblings, experienced dramatic confrontations with racism from childhood. Hooded Klansmen burned their home in
Lansing, Michigan; Earl Little was killed under mysterious circumstances; welfare agencies split up the children and eventually committed Louise Little to a state mental institution; and Malcolm was forced to live in a detention home run by
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Although Malcolm tried to conceal his differences with Elijah
Muhammad, tensions between them erupted. The tensions were exacerbated by the threat Malcolm's popularity posed to Muhammad's leadership and by Malcolm's disillusionment with Elijah upon learning that the NOI's moral and spiritual leader had fathered children by former secretaries. The tensions became publicly visible when
Muhammad silenced Malcolm for remarking after the assassination of
President John F. Kennedy that it was a case of the "chickens coming home to roost." (Malcolm's point was that the federal government's inaction toward racist violence in the South had come back to strike the president.) When Malcolm learned that Muhammad had planned to have him assassinated, he decided to leave the NOI.

On March 8, 1964, he announced his resignation and formed the
Muslim Mosque, Inc., an Islamic movement devoted to working in the political sphere and cooperating with civil rights leaders. That same year he made his first pilgrimage to Mecca and took a second tour of several African and Arab nations. The trip was apparently transformative. Upon his return he renamed himself El-Hajj Malik El-
Shabazz, adopted from Sunni Islam, and announced that he had found the "true brotherhood" of man. He publicly acknowledged that whites were no longer devils,

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