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Afro-American Leader Malcolm X

Malcolm X was one of the most influential Afro-American leaders of the Black Nationalism movement in America. An advocate of vigorous self-defense against white violence, Malcolm X is considered an early influence on the black power movement in the late 1960s. Malcolm went from illiterate convict to minister of the Harlem mosque wtihin one year of joining Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam. As a direct result of his efforts, the Nation of Islam became the most well known and controversial black organization in the United States.

Malcolm Little was born on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska. The family moved from Omaha to Milwaukee shortly after MalcolmÆs birth, then to Lansing, Michigan. Following his fatherÆs death, Malcolm lived in a number of foster homes. Finally, he was sent to Roxbury, Massachusetts to live with his half-sister, Ella. His autobiography relates the details of his life and his experiences in the ghettoes in Boston, New York, and other eastern cities. In 1946, Malcolm X was sent to prison. While in prison, he became a member of the Nation of Islam, the Black Muslim group headed by Elijah Muhammad. After being released from prison, Malcolm X joined Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm lectured on radio and television and gained attention nation-wide. In time, his relationship with Elijah Muhammad deteriorated, and Malcolm left the Black Muslims. A number of Black Muslims followed him, and he established the Muslim Mosque, Inc. Malcolm X was shot to death in front of his family and followers on Sunday, February 21, 1965, while making a speech in the Audubon Ballroom in New York.

Ossie Davis was one of the first people to express shock publicly over MalcolmÆs assassination. A close personal friend of Malcolm X, he gave the eulogy at the funeral. In his eulogy, Davis referred to Malcolm as ôour black shining princeö (Adoff 191). Davis wrote that, following the funeral, many black people wrote...

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