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Malcolm X

Malcolm X was a Civil Rights activist who became a leading figure in the African-American struggle for recognition and equality.

His life story was portrayed in Spike Lee's compelling 1992 film, Malcolm X, starring Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett.

Malcolm X
Malcolm X
Biographical fast facts

Full or original name at birth: Malcolm Little

Date, time and place of birth: May 19, 1925, at 10:25 p.m., University Hospital, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A. *

Date, time, place and cause of death: February 21, 1965, at 3:10 p.m.**, at the Audubon Ballroom, 166th Street and Broadway, New York City, New York (Assassinated - Gunshots)

Wife: Betty Jean Sanders (later, Betty X, then Betty Shabazz)
(m. January 14th, 1958 - February 21st, 1965) (his death)
Wedding took place in Lansing, Michigan.

Daughters: Attallah (b. November 16, 1958)
Qubilah (b. December 25, 1960)
Ilyasah (b. July 22, 1962)
Gamilah Lumumbah (b. December 4, 1964)
Malikah Saban Shabazz and Malaak Saban Shabazz (twins b. September 1965)

Father: Earl Little (b. 1890 - d. September 28, 1931)
Mother: Louise Langdon Norton Little (1897-1991)

Burial site: Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, New York, U.S.A.

Error corrections or clarifications

* Many sources mistakenly report his boyhood home at 3448 Pinkney Street (now 34th and Evans Street), Omaha, Nebraska, was his birthplace. Although he certainly did live at that address with his family for a short time, his birth certificate clearly shows he was not born there. Malcolm himself confirms this fact, in The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

** Following his assassination at 3:10 p.m. at the Audubon Ballroom, he was rushed to Vanderbilt Clinic, at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where he was dead on arrival. All attempts to resuscitate him failed and he was "officially" pronounced dead at 3:30 p.m. As a result, some sources report 3:30 p.m. as his time of death, but hospital records clearly show he was dead on arrival, and "did not respond at all to resuscitative measures."


Working with Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, he became an influential militant African-American leader who articulated the concept that the white man was evil, and the best course for black people was to separate themselves from Western, white civilization -- culturally, physically and politically.

On a pilgrimage to Mecca, the Islamic holy city in Saudi Arabia and birthplace of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, he experienced a significant conversion. The many white people he met during his 1964 pilgrimage displayed a spirit of unity and brotherhood that provided him with a new, positive insight into race relations. He modified his views of black separatism, no longer believed that all white people were evil, and felt he'd found the true meaning of the Islamic religion. Malcolm now believed that Islam provided the power to overcome racial antagonism for people of all races and nationalities. Following his conversion, he took the name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and vowed to promote greater harmony among all blacks, including non-Muslims, as well as white civil rights activists he had previously alienated with his uncompromising positions. His newfound beliefs caused tensions to mount with the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, and Elijah Muhammad. Amidst growing hostility, he broke from the Nation of Islam and founded his own Muslim associations, Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. Rather than easing tensions, this only served to exacerbate the situation, and led to violence and threats against his life.

His assassination at the hands of rival Black Muslims with ties to the Nation of Islam, focused more attention than ever on his teachings. There is a long-held suspicion that Louis Farrakhan, later to be the leader of the Nation of Islam, was behind his assassination. The publication of Malcolm's autobiography in 1965, made him an ideological hero to many young African-Americans. A perennial best-seller, The Autobiography of Malcolm X has allowed successive generations to learn of his transformation and hear his powerful message of tolerance and compassion.


The most in-depth of more three dozen sources consulted in preparing this profile:
The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1964)
Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary, by Walter Dean Myers (1993)

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