Thursday, May 19, 2022

May 19: Malcolm X, American Muslim minister and civil rights activist


Malcolm X (1925-1965) was an American Muslim minister and icon of the civil rights movement. Born Malcolm Little, upon his release from prison at age 22 (for larceny and breaking and entering), he changed his name to "X," eschewing his "white slavemaster name" and using "X" as a signifier for his unknown African name. (After making the pilgrimage to Mecca as a member of the Nation of Islam--he had converted in prison--he changed his name again to el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz). He stood against the mainstream non-violent civil rights movement--he called Martin Luther King Jr. a "chump" for his perceived cooperation with the "white establishment." Rejecting that strategy, he famously argued that black people should advance their cause "by any means necessary." Dozens of streets, schools, colleges, and libraries have been named after Malcolm X. He was assassinated in 1965, most likely at the hands of the Nation of Islam, though some look to the NYPD, the FBI, or the CIA.


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