Malcolm X (b. May 19, 1925, d. February 21, 1965), was an African-American Muslim activist in the late 20th century.
In prison, the bad came before the good. El-Shabazz left school and turned to the street. His reputation preceded him as he developed the name "Detroit Red" for Lansing was a city no one knew in Michigan and he needed something to catch on quick as he moved quite frequently, doing odd jobs and participating and leading criminal activity. It was many years later that during a robbery, El-Shabazz was caught and imprisoned, where he served seven years. It was in prison that El-Shabazz became 'Malcolm X'. In prison, El-Shabazz read many books, among them, the dictionary, to increase his knowledge. He not only grew intellectually, but spiritually. He became a Nation of Islam, or NOI, member and became engrossed in their beliefs. El-Shabazz soon became not only a dedicated follower but a passionate advocate for NOI.
After leaving prison, El-Shabazz became a popular minister and influential leader among the African-American masses. He was extremely well received. He was invited to places like Harvard and Oxford, and was soon recognized as one of the leading forces of the NOI movement. El-Shabazz was charming and almost mockingly cocky in his interviews and speeches–he laughed and jeered at the white man, but also at the black man, asking his audience, "Who taught you to hate yourself?". A controversial figure early on in his career, El-Shabazz's opinions on White America, oppression, black power, and violence were controversial and engaged and intrigued America. Never had there been such strong opinions propagated amongst the masses as successfully as his did. His opinions were a stark contrast to that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who has been popularized as the peacekeeper, despite the sometimes-violent views that Dr. King also held. Read more...