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Malcolm X
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    (May 19, 1925-February 21, 1965)
    Birthday is Malcolm X Day (May 19, 1925)
    Known as 'Detroit Red' during his youth
    Dictated the bestselling 'The Autobiography Of Malcolm X' to Alex Haley
    Coined the famous phrase,'By any means necessary'
    Assassinated by three Nation Of Islam followers while speaking at the Audubon Ballroom (February 21, 1965)
    Mentor to boxing champion, Muhammad Ali (a.k.a. Cassius Clay)
    Portrayed by Denzel Washington in Spike Lee's Academy Award nominated 'Malcolm X'
    Nation Of Islam Minister/Civil Rights Activist
    He would conk his hair, wear zoot suits, and talk 'white,' so he would be accepted by both races.
    When working as a small-time numbers runner/hustler, he would rarely operate sober, often under the influence of marijuana and cocaine.
    He was sentenced to 8-10 years of jail for armed robbery (1946).
    When studying Islam in prison, he found it hard to get on his knees and pray to Allah, but had no problem getting on his knees to pick locks.
    He married, Betty Shabazz, after one week of engagement (1958).
    While claiming he did not advocate violence, Malcolm once said: 'We don't teach you to hate the white man, but if that man put his hand on you... you see to it that he doesn't put his hand on anybody else.'
    He referred to the assassination of JFK as 'chickens coming home to roost' (1963).
    He was forced to leave Miami and then return, so to not cause a riot at the Cassius Clay/Sonny Liston match (1964).
    After widely and publicly criticizing other black civil rights leaders (e.g. Martin Luther King, Jr.), once splitting from the Nation Of Islam, he hoped they would forget the many bad things he said about them, as he has.
    After years of referring to the white man as 'the devil,' when splitting from the Nation and forming Muslim Mosque Inc., he stated, 'White's can help us, but they can't join,' implying financial aid (1964).
    He once labelled Martin Luther King, Jr. as an 'Uncle Tom.'
    He changed his name three times during his short life (Malcolm Little to Malcolm X to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz).
    After over a decade serving the Nation Of Islam and preaching that blacks should separate from whites, a trip to the Mecca easily changed his views.
    The Honorable Elijah Muhammad stated after his death: 'Malcolm encouraged violence... now it has ended his life.'
    His father was found dead on the town's trolley tracks, his mother was committed to an institution, and he was separated from his siblings at an early age, thus, he had to raise himself.
    He made his way through his youth without the aid of anyone, but stayed close with his family.
    In prison, he re-wrote the entire dictionary, wrote to government officials, and converted to Islam.
    He was made Assistant Minister of the Nation Of Islam's Detroit Temple (1953).
    He was promoted to Minister of Nation Of Islam's New York Temple (1954).
    Unlike many other famous activists, he stayed loyal to his wife, and raised his children to the best of his ability.
    He discovered that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was having affairs with six women, violating the Muslim faith, which shattered Malcolm's faith, but did not deter him.
    He was silenced for his comments about JFK's murder, but many feel it was because of his realization of Elijah Muhammad's affairs.
    He split from the Nation, and rather than starting an organization of the same beliefs, he formed one that followed his own beliefs, which were less radical than the Nation's.
    He made a holy pilgrimage to the Mecca to find out who he was.
    When best friend Cassius Clay chose the Nation over him, he did not insult him in retaliation, rather, he wrote him a brief letter warning him that the Nation would take advantage of him (which came true).
    Soon before his death, he and Martin Luther King Jr. began to converge their ideas and formed a friendship, which worried the FBI, CIA, KKK and the Nation.
    He was not afraid to tell it like it is, which is why he is such an icon today.
    It was written that while Martin Luther King, Jr. may come first in our hearts, Malcolm X comes first in our minds, as he had the more realistic vision.

Credit: No Mercy

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