Malcolm X Timeline
May 19, 1925 – Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska
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1940 – Drops out of school at age 15
1946 – Convicted of burglary and sent to prison
1949 – 1951 – Studies the Nation of Islam
1952 – Leaves prison, dedicates himself to Nation of Islam, changes name to Malcolm X
Jan. 14, 1958 – Marries Betty X
Dec. 4, 1963 – Suspended from the Nation of Islam
March 1964 – Leaves Nation of Islam, starts the Muslim Mosque, Inc.
Apr. 22, 1964 – Makes his Hajj (holy pilgrimage) and becomes El-Hajj Malik al-Shabazz
Jun. 28, 1964 – Forms the Organization of Afro-American Unity
Jul. 17, 1964 – Speaks at the Organization of African Unity in Cairo
Aug. 13, 1964 – U.S. State and Justice Departments take notice of his influence on African leaders at the U.N.
Feb 21, 1965 – Al Hajj Malik assassinated in New York
Malcolm X was probably one of the most controversial elements in the civil rights movement. Malcolm X had become a member of the Nation of Islam in his earlier years. The Islamic faith borrows basic ideas from the orthodox teachings of Islam and combines them with the very racist views regarding whites taught by Elijah Mohammed. Malcolm was a very influential priest for the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X questioned some of the views and beliefs of the Nation of Islam, which made Mr. Mohammed and the rest of the Nation angry. This forced Malcolm to travel on a journey overseas to find out what his true beliefs were. When he reached Arabia, he found that it was a different society than that of which Elijah Mohammed had described it. Malcolm discovered that race played no role in determining a personâ€™s status in society. Viewing this made a positive change in Malcolm Xâ€™s beliefs and views. This unity of human kind made Malcolm think and change his ideas about the solution to the racial problem in America. This was the most influential turning point in his life.
Malcolm first adopted his views and beliefs of the Nation of Islam while he was serving time in prison. By the time he had gotten out of prison, he had undergone a transformation from a drug-dealing thief to a religious priest for his newfound faith, the Nation of Islam. Malcolm had taken on in full Mr. Mohammedâ€™s racist teachings. It was through these teachings that Malcolm X developed his radical views about race in America.
Under the guidance and teachings of Elijah Mohammed, Malcolm had targeted all whites and blamed them for position of African Americans in society. He referred to the whites as devils, which tried making the standards of blacks even lower then they already were. Malcolm X believed that complete segregation was the only way to end racial problems in America. He also said that all actions committed against blacks in history were due to the white race as a whole. Another one of his claims was that all blacks should move to Africa, and establish some sort of society there.
Sometime after Malcolm X had taken on his new religion, he began to question the validity of the Nation of Islam and some of its leaders. It was found out that Elijah Mohammed had been partaking in sexual misconduct and that he had several illegitimate children. When Malcolm confronted Elijah about these things, Elijah admitted to them. This made Malcolm question the beliefs of Elijah, which were basically the foundations of the Nation of Islam. During this time, many of the leaders of the Nation of Islam became jealous of Malcolmâ€™s success. All of these things contributed to Malcolm eventually leaving the Nation of Islam in 1964.
Later in 1964, Malcolm X took off on a journey to Arabia to try and find the true religion of Islam. While in Arabia, he underwent his holy pilgrimage. This experience had a very positive impact on Malcolm X. While racial hatred in America had forced black people to the lowest levels of society, Malcolm had come into a society were the color of the skin played no factor in life. While in Arabia, a white leader let Malcolm stayed with him in his room, which would have been unheard of during the civil rights movements in the States. It was during this trip to Arabia that Malcolm made a big change in his way of life. He had finally learned to trust people. He found out that the color of oneâ€™s skin doesnâ€™t reflect what kind of person you are, but itâ€™s ones actions that reflect the quality of a person.
From his trip, Malcolm threw out all of his racist and segregational views about the American society, and he took on a more Orthodox Islamic approach of racial equality. Once he returned home from his trip, he began preaching about his newly formed philosophies. He created new ideas about race in America and about unity. His greatest change in beliefs were his thoughts about black and white relationships. His conversion to orthodox Islam changed his views upon white people.
Around this time, Malcolm adopted a new name. He changed the Nation of Islam in his name to an orthodox name. Malcolm X was no more; his new name was Malik El-Shabazz. Malcolm changing his name was probably the one that that most symbolized his breaking away from the Nation of Islam. Malik now felt that he could practice his own newfound philosophy. Mr. El-Shabazz created his own organization called Muslim Mosque Inc., which was a group that was totally free of the old Nation of Islamâ€™s ideas. This group was trying to find black unity in America. Unlike before, Malik wanted whites to join his newly founded organization. This was something that would have never been considered in the Nation of Islam.
The coexistence between races that Malcolm had witnessed in Arabia made him want to strive for something similar in America. He no longer believed that total segregation would benefit anyone. He felt that if you were going to get anywhere, unity was needed. Malik also believed that the solution to racial problems lied in the minds of people, not in segregation.
Malikâ€™s views on other black organizations changed after his journey to Arabia. When he was a radical, he was opposed to all non-radical groups who were working toward racial peace and equality. Now that he had adopted the true Islamic faith, he gave full support to all black organizations. He even gave support to Martin Luther King, whom he used to speak down upon and criticize for his work.
Malik no longer felt that a racial problem existed in America. He believed that civil rights should be addressed as human rights and should be looked upon as a problem with human rights. Due to those feelings, Malik El-Shabazz proposed that he would sue the United States of America for violating human rights. Unfortunately for Malik, he had very little support on this and he didnâ€™t follow through with it.
Malik El-Shabazz had once said, “My whole life has been a chronology of changes”. Malik had three stages of his life. When he was Malcolm Little, he was a drug addict, a thief, and an all around criminal. As Malcolm X, he went from a low life hoodlum to a very influential priest for the Nation of Islam. As Malik El-Shabazz, he went from teaching racial segregation to preaching racial equality and unification. He basically went from one end of the spectrum straight to the other. In the end, he became a good man, who taught what was right in his eyes. Unfortunately, Malcolm Little (a.k.a. Malcolm X, a.k.a. Malik El-Shabazz) was assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on February 21, 1965. He was world famous at this time as â€œthe angriest black man in America.â€ No matter what goes on, he will never be forgotten.
X, Malcolm. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. New York: Random House Inc., 1965.
MSA. Malcolm X. http://www.csun.edu/~hbcsc103/malcolmx.html. Online. Internet Explorer. Internet. 25 September 1999.
Schilling, Marcel. http://www.datacomm.ch/schilling/malcolm.html. Online. Internet Explorer. Internet 25 September 1999.