Of all the radical icons of the 1960's my most heroic was Malcolm X. He was right and his words resonate to this day. As I was living up in Northern Michigan when Alex Hailey's paperback book came out, I had to order it. Once it finally came I couldn't book the book down. Gratefully it was about 1000 pages and was very in depth.
Then Spike Lee makes a flm from Mr. Hailey's book. He did extreme justic to that book and I am getting ready to re watch that fim right now. Of course I love the part where Malcolm is bad and wears the brightly colored zoot suits... It is an amazing journey and Denzel Washington does a miraculous job as Malcolm. Here is a little clip from the film:
It is a time for martyrs now, and if I am to be one, it will be for the cause of brotherhood. Thats the only thing that can save this country.
These prophetic words were spoken by one of America s most famous and controversial African-Americans just two days before his assassination. His name was Malcolm X.
One could go deeply into the making of this man, born Malcolm Little. So many people, agencies, institutions and organizations have covered this portion of Malcolm Xs brief life on earth. A vast sea of in-depth analyses and biographies on his life and philosophies are available.
This story focuses on all of the facts, suspicions and theories surrounding the assassination of Malcolm X and the impact it has had on the world. Like the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, too, had a dream. It began bathed in the tenets of anger and hatred, fostering economic independence on the shoulders of retaliatory separatism. And it ended with the swelling acceptance of a unified brotherhood and the replacement of hatred with peace and of anger with the nagging thirst for international equality for all mankind.
Malcolm, the son of Louise and Reverend Earl Little, was born in Omaha, Nebraska on May 19, 1925. Earl Little was a Baptist minister and an active advocate of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). The Little family eventually moved to Lansing, Michigan where their house was mysteriously burned down. Rev. Little then built another house for his family, just outside of East Lansing. In 1931, right after an argument with his wife, Rev. Earl Little angrily walked out of the house. His lifeless body was later found on some streetcar tracks. His head had been severely bashed in and his torso almost cut in half by a streetcar. Authorities reported the death as a suicide, but the African-American community believed he was murdered by a white supremacist group.
Louise Little did all she could to take care of herself and her six children. Eventually the stress and strain got to her and in 1939 she was declared insane and institutionalized. Her children were placed in various foster homes. That same year, Malcolms teacher asked him what he would like to be. His answer was, a lawyer.
The teacher, who had encouraged the white students on their career choices, told Malcolm, thats no realistic goal for a nigger. Malcolm, a good student, quickly became disenchanted. He was placed in a detention home and then dropped out of school, having finished only the eighth grade.
After taking several odd jobs, Malcolm moved to Boston with his fathers sister. He was only fourteen years old and could only find an assortment of odd jobs. He finally landed a job with the New Haven Railroad, which shuttled between Boston and New York City, giving him an opportunity to meet many educated African-Americans.
Malcolm was fired from this job and once again took on various odd jobs in New York and Boston, while also committing acts of petty larceny. After being caught and arrested for carrying a concealed weapon he was sentenced to prison. While serving more than six years he began educating himself, converted to the Islamic faith and became a Black Muslim in the Nation of Islam (NOI).