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52 years ago today, Malcolm X was killed while giving a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. I think it is fitting to honor him by spotlighting parts of his life.
Black history fact #21
Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little and later known as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, (1925 - 1965) was an orator, civil rights activist, and a leader of the Nation of Islam. He challenged the mainstream civil rights movement and its nonviolent pursuit of integration championed by Martin Luther King Jr. He advocated for self-defense against white aggression and the liberation of black people "by any means necessary," including violence. A gifted and passionate orator, Malcolm was admitted by the black community across the US. Due largely to his efforts, the Nation of Islam grew from 400 members in 1952 to 40,000 members by 1960. However, he broke with the group in 1964 and then traveled through North Africa and the Middle East, most notably making a a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where he experienced a turning point in his political and spiritual views. He returned to the US more optimistic about the prospects for peaceful resolution to America's race problems and founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity, which advocated black identity and argued that racism, not white people, was the greatest foe of the black community. Malcolm X's legacy as a civil rights leader was further cemented by the posthumous publication in 1965 of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley."
Thank you Malcolm X for your fearlessness and leadership!