19th May 1925 – 21st February 1965
“If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
Speech at Audubon Ballroom, 1964, Malcolm X
Malcolm X was a prominent leader in the American Civil rights movement. A controversial figure, Malcolm X spoke out against institutional racism and advocated the use of violence as a form of defence for Black People as well as race segregation.
Malcolm X was born in Nebraska to a father who was killed when he was 6 and a mother who was placed in a mental hospital when he was 13. After moving from foster home to foster home Malcolm X was imprisoned at the age of 20 for larceny. Whilst he was in prison he joined the Nation of Islam, a radical African-American Islamic political group which fought for black rights and promoted segregation between different races due to Black Supremist views. After being released from prison Malcolm X rose to a prominent leadership position within the Nation of Islam vocally offering his support for their free drug rehabilitation program. After becoming disillusioned with the Nation of Islam due to the rigidness of their teachings and hypocrisy of its leader Malcolm X left the group and joined the Sunni branch of Islam.
Malcolm X continued his vocal support for civil rights engaging in debates and political meetings across the globe whilst also denouncing his former group. By advocating violence as a means to political change and his call for racial segregation he created enemies within the civil rights movement. He also continued to create enemies within the Nation of Islam. Despite this he continued to gain support and was a prominent voice in the civil rights movement and his legacy still stands strong alongside Luther King and other leaders of the Black struggle. With his vocal opposition to the Nation of Islam Malcolm X received multiple death threats from the group and was eventually assassinated on this day 1965 by members of the Nation of Islam at a public address.
A prayer for Malcolm X:
Lord God of all, we give you thanks for the life and work of Malcolm X. We thank you that there are people in this world who are willing to put themselves in the firing line to speak out for what they believe in. We ask that you turn hearts of hatred away from violence and towards a desire for equality so that all races may eventually work together to build your kingdom here on earth. Through your most Holy Son we pray. Amen
Suggested bible verse: