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Black nationalism in the 1950’s: Malcom X

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Malcom X also known as Malcom little who was an African-American leader and well-known figure in the National of Islam, he articulated concepts of race pride and black nationalism in the 1950’s and 60s. He was born in 19th of May 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska. He had eight siblings, and he was the fourth of eight children and the son of Earl little who also a preacher and an active member of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and dedicated supporter of black nationalist leader named Marcus Garvey.

Malcom X family was subjected to a regular harassment from the white supremacist group including the Klan due to his father’s civil rights. Back when Malcom X was a young boy, he said “a group of hooded Ku Klux Klan rushed to our home and raising their shotguns and rifles, they yelled for my father to came out from the building.” In fact, the harassment continued when he was four, some local Klan members smashed all the family’s windows. Soon after that they move from Omaha to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1926 and then to Lansing, Michigan in 1928.

Nevertheless, the racism for their family happened in Lansing even worse than in Omaha. Soon after they moved in, a racist mob came to their house and set their house on fire, and the town’s all white emergency responders denied to do anything after what the mob did to them. Shortly after that, he then said “the police and firefighter came, and they stood around watching our house burned down to the ground. “ . The little then moved to East Lansing where his father built a new home.

Two years later, Earl little’s dead body was found lying across the municipal streetcar tracks. Although Malcom X and his family believed that his father was assassinated by the white supremacist from whom he had received constant death warnings. Malcom X’s mother never recovered from the shock and grief over her husband’s death. Later then, his mother committed to a mental institution and Malcom and his siblings went separated and placed in fosters homes.

Malcom X was kicked out of school and sent to the juvenile home in Mason, Michigan in 1938. The white couple who ran the home treated him well, but the truth is, they treated him like “pink poodle” or a “pet canary” rather than a human being in his autobiography. Furthermore, he was one of only a few black students in Mason High School. He excelled in academic and was well like by his classmate, who also elected him as class president. A year later, his English teacher asked him for his ambition and he replied that he wanted to be a lawyer. His teacher responded,” One of life’s first needs is for us to be realistic… you need to think of something you can be… why don’t you be a carpenter instead? “. Later that he dropped out of the school at the age of 15.

Malcom X moved to Boston to live with his older half-sister, Ella, about whom he recalled, “She was the first really proud black woman I had ever seen in my life. She was plainly proud of her black skin. This was unheard of among Negroes in those days. ” Ella founded Malcom a job as shinning shoes at the Roseland Ballroom. Soon after he got comforted on the street of Boston, he began made friends with the city’s criminal underground, later that he began to selling drugs. Moreover, he got another job a kitchen helper on the Yankee Clipper train between Boston and New York.

In 1946, He got arrested on charges of robbery and sentenced to 10 years in jail. While his in cell, he read constantly , devouring books from the prison library in an attempt make up for the years of academic he had missed by dropping out of high school. In addition, a several siblings from the Nation of Islam, a small group of black Muslims who embraced the ideology of black nationalism- the idea to get freedom, justice and equality. The blacks needed to form their own state entirely separated from the whites. Later that, he converted to the Nation of Islam before his release from the cell in 1952.

Malcom X was now a free man, he began to traveled to Detroit, Michigan, where he worked with the leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad, to expand the movement for the blacks nationwide. Malcom X became the minister of Temple of No.7 in Harlem and Temple No.11 in Boston. In 1960, he established a national newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, to further his message of the Nation of Islam. The act of persuasive, passionate and a natural gifted and inspirational oral, he encouraged the blacks to cast off the shackles of racism by any means necessary including violence. He said ”There’s no such thing as nonviolent revolution. ” His militant proposals – a violent revolution to established an independent to the black nation. Malcom X won a large number of followers followed by the fierce critics. Because of the efforts of Malcom X, the Nation of Islam grew from a mere 400 members at the time when he was released from the cell in 1952, to 40,000 members by 1960.

By the early of 1960, Malcom X had emerged as a leading voice of a radicalized wing of the Civil Rights Movement, presenting a Philosophical alternative to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a racially-integrated society achieved by peaceful means. Dr. King was highly critical of what he saw as Malcom’s destructive demagoguery. Martin Luther said “I feel that Malcom has done himself and our people a great unkindness,”.

A split with Elijah Muhammad showed much more crucial. In 1963, Malcom X became deeply disillusioned when he learned that his mentor and idol had violated his teachings, most flagrantly by carrying on many extramarital affairs; Muhammad had, in fact, fathered several children out of wedlock. The feelings of betrayal combine with Muhammad’s anger over Malcom’s insensitive comments regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Led Malcom X to leave the Nation of Islam in 1964

That same year, Malcom X went to North Africa and the middle east. The journey made him to be both political and spiritual turning point in his life. He also learned to place the American Civil Rights Movement within the context of global anti-colonial struggle, embracing pan-Africanism and socialism. Furthermore, he converted in Islam and changed his named to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz .On top of that, he also made the Hajj, the traditional Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

After his epiphany at Mecca, he then returned to the United States with less angry and more optimistic about the prospects for peaceful resolution to America’s race problems. He said ”a true brotherhood I had ever seen has made me to recognize that anger can blind human vision, ”. “America is the first country… that can actually have a bloodless revolution.” Tragically, Malcom X was assassinated just when he appeared to be embarking on an ideological transformation with the potential to dramatically alter the course of the Civil Rights Movement.

In the immediate fallout of Malcom X’s death, commentators ignored his recent spiritual and political transformation and also criticized him as a violent rabble-rouser. After the his publication of his autobiography, Malcom X will be remembered for his present to the society of underscoring the value of a truly free residents by demonstrating the great lengths to which human beings will go to secure their freedom. He said “power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression” and “because of power, real power, comes from our conviction which produces action, uncompromising action.” In a nutshell, Malcom X did actually changed the minds of the people about racist problems to the society

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