Malcolm X (May 19, 1925-February 21 1965), aka Detroit Red aka El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, was a civil rights activist during the civil rights movement of the late 50's and 60's.
Malcolm X was born Malcom Little to Earl and Louise Little in 1925. Malcolm's father was killed by the Ku Klux Klan while he was still young and as a result his mother became distraught after her painful loss and ended up in a mental institution. Malcom moved to Boston with his sister Ella shortly afterword and got a taste of the way black people acted there. He started wearing wild zoot suits, straightning his hair known as a method called "conking," and smoking reefers. He hooked with another cat named Shorty and they became friends, living it up at the Boston dance halls where they did wild, frenzied dances called the lindy-hop. It was there that Malcolm met a white girl named Sophia and they became a couple. Back in those days it was a big thing for a black man to be with a white woman because it showed he had class. But at the same time the white woman got with the black man because of his "sexual athleticism" as Malcolm called it.
After Boston became to small for Malcolm he moved to New York where he became an all around hustler, selling mostly reefers to people on the street and notable muscians. It was here he became known as Detroit Red because of his bright red head of hair. He also got into racketeering, gambling and pimping. He befriended a West Indian named Archie and the two hit the streets participating in the Harlem Numbers Racket. But after awhile things got to hot for Malcom there as he and Archie became enemies over a dispute, detectives were threatning to arrest him, plus the fact that some Italian wiseguys wanted to kill him for they thought he stuck up their card game. Malcolm decided to leave town.
Shorty picked Malcom up and they went back to Boston. There Malcolm organized a burgalary gang that include him, Sophia, Shorty and his white girlfriend, whom was Sophia's sister, and Rudy, a Afro-Italian man who was the getaway driver. It was at their first meeting that Malcolm did the infamous "Russian Roulette," scene in which he scared everyone to show that he wasn't afraid to die. The burgalry lasted for a nice run until the coppers arrested everyone, except Rudy who got away. Malcolm and Shorty were sentenced to 10 years in prison because of the burgalary counts and their fornication with the white girls.
In prison Malcolm started to listen to the teachings of a man named Bimbi who told him the glorious truth about black people and how the white man muddied it up to keep the black man enslaved mentally. It was here Malcolm accepted the belief that all white people, were White Devils. After Malcolm was released from prison he continued his studies and joined the Nation of Islam, a group devoted to the cause of uplifting the black man from his current state. Malcolm became a minister and began his famous crusade on telling the truth about white and black people.
He basically said that black people should stop acting like a bunch of pussies and stop fearing white people. He said they should own their own businesses in their own neighborhoods and uplift themselves out of poverty amd get off of welfare, drugs, gambling and liqour as they were tools used by the white man to keep black people under his heel. He also said black people should arm themselves and use deadly force if necessary to protect themselves from attacking whites. For white people Malcolm said that they need to recognize what they did to black people during slavery and what they were doing to them in the present. He said whites were an evil race of people who were created by an evil scientist to enslave people of color. Because of his rhetoic hundreds of black people joined the nation of islam. However things began to go downhill from there.
Some black people have this tendacy to always destroy good things that they have. We call these type of black people one thing: NIGGERS!!!! It was these type of NIGGERS!!!! that caused Malcolm X to leave the Nation of Islam. The ministers there felt Malcom was getting more attention than there leader Elijah Muhammad. The final straw was when Malcolm found out Elijah was nothing but a fraud who mislead him and hundreds of other black people into believing he was a divine prophet sent by Allah. Malcolm left the Nation in 1964 and began his own Crusade on helping black people rise up.
In 1964 Malcolm X made his pilgramage to Mecca where he learned true Islam was practiced by people who were the blackest of black, to the whitest of white. It was here he learned Humanity had the power to unite as brothers on the human family tree. When he got back to America he applied thse new lessons to his teachings, to the dismay of the nation of islam who held the racist belief whites were not worthy to become muslims. They began to plan Malcolms assassination.
On February 21st, 1965 Malcolm X was shot to death in the Audoborn Ballroom in Harlem at age 39. It is alleged that the nation of islam were not the sole perpertrators. The United States governemt also were involved although this has yet to be proven. Ossie Davies delivered this beautiful eulogy about the great hero:
Here—at this final hour, in this quiet place—Harlem has come to bid farewell to one of its brightest hopes—extinguished now, and gone from us forever. For Harlem is where he worked and where he struggled and fought—his home of homes, where his heart was, and where his people are—and it is, therefore, most fitting that we meet once again—in Harlem—to share these last moments with him.
For Harlem has ever been gracious to those who have loved her, have fought for her and have defended her honor even to the death. It is not in the memory of man that this beleaguered, unfortunate, but nonetheless proud community has found a braver, more gallant young champion than this Afro-American who lies before us—unconquered still.
I say the word again, as he would want me to: Afro-American—Afro-American Malcolm, who was a master, was most meticulous in his use of words. Nobody knew better than he the power words have over minds of men.
Malcolm had stopped being a Negro years ago. It had become too small, too puny, too weak a word for him. Malcolm was bigger than that. Malcolm had become an Afro-American, and he wanted—so desperately—that we, that all his people, would become Afro-Americans, too.
There are those who will consider it their duty, as friends of the Negro people, to tell us to revile him, to flee, even from the presence of his memory, to save ourselves by writing him out of the history of our turbulent times.
Many will ask what Harlem finds to honor in this stormy, controversial and bold young captain—and we will smile. Many will say turn away—away from this man; for he is not a man but a demon, a monster, a subverter and an enemy of the black man—and we will smile. They will say that he is of hate—a fanatic, a racist—who can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle! And we will answer and say to them:
Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did you ever touch him or have him smile at you? Did you ever really listen to him? Did he ever do a mean thing? Was he ever himself associated with violence or any public disturbance? For if you did, you would know him. And if you knew him, you would know why we must honor him: Malcolm was our manhood, our living, black manhood!
This was his meaning to his people. And, in honoring him, we honor the best in ourselves. Last year, from Africa, he wrote these words to a friend: My journey, he says, is almost ended, and I have a much broader scope than when I started out, which I believe will add new life and dimension to our struggle for freedom and honor and dignity in the States.
I am writing these things so that you will know for a fact the tremendous sympathy and support we have among the African States for our human rights struggle. The main thing is that we keep a united front wherein our most valuable time and energy will not be wasted fighting each other.
However we may have differed with him—or with each other about him and his value as a man—let his going from us serve only to bring us together, now.
Consigning these mortal remains to earth, the common mother of all, secure in the knowledge that what we place in the ground is no more now a man—but a seed—which, after the winter of our discontent, will come forth again to meet us.
And we will know him then for what he was and is—a prince—our own black shining prince!—who didn’t hesitate to die, because he loved us so.
Malcolm X said,"I realized racism isn't just a black and white problem. It's brought bloodbaths to about every nation on earth at one time or another. Brother, remember the time that white college girl came into the restaurant — the one who wanted to help the Black
Muslims and the whites get together — and I told her there wasn't a ghost of a chance and she went away crying? Well, I've lived to regret that incident. In many parts of the African continent I saw white students helping black people. Something like this kills a lot of argument. I did many things as a Black
Muslim that I'm sorry for now. I was a zombie then — like all Black
Muslims — I was hypnotized, pointed in a certain direction and told to march. Well, I guess a man's entitled to make a fool of himself if he's ready to pay the cost. It cost me 12 years. That was a bad scene, brother. The sickness and madness of those days — I'm glad to be free of them."