Malcolm X was a man who by many accounts who lived in deeply distressing times for the African race. In sharp contrast to his more famous, and ‘politically correct’ contemporary Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm actively advocated that Africans utilise all available means of self-defense.
Additionally, for most of his public life he was a foremost member of the ‘Nation of Islam’ ;A socio-religious group with extremist doctrines relating to the white race and the solution to the repression of African people in the United States . The Nation of Islam’s response to racial inequality and discrimination was predominantly retaliatory, it intended to counter hate with hate, violence with violence.
But for his lengthy involvement with the Nation of Islam, perhaps Malcolm X would not be such a controversial figure. However, it is clear that he was significantly influenced by the organisation’s dogma which is somewhat ironic considering the nature of his assassination.
On March 8, 1964 shortly before he embarked on a Hajj pilgrimage tour to Mecca, he announced his break with the group. Marital infidelities of the group’s leader, Elijah Mohammad and rising jealousy in the Nation of Islam regarding Malcolm prominent status in the media are thought to be major reasons for his departure.
His trip to Mecca generated a profound change of opinion in him. Sequel to observing Muslims of diverse races interacting cordially without evidences of racial tension, he ceased to view white people as devils and came to see Islam as a medium by which racial discords could be resolved.
From Mecca, he visited a number of African countries including Egypt, Ghana ,Nigeria. Interestingly, he later referred to a honorary name ‘Omowale’ bestowed on him after a speech at the University of Ibadan as his most treasured honor.
As his life drew to its premature close, he became increasingly receptive to cooperating with the civil rights movement that he had been so disdainful of.
He only met his more popular colleague, once and then just long enough for a photograph.
Malcolm X knew he was a marked man. Tensions with the Nation of Islam worsened in the months leading to his death and he is known to have remarked to his biographer, Alex Haley “If I’m alive when this book comes out, it will be a miracle “. He was not.
February, 21 1965. As he prepared to give a speech in Manhattan’s Audoborn Ballroom, there was a disturbance in the audience…soon after, Malcom X was riddled with 21 bullets? from three assailants. One double-barreled sawed-off shotgun and two semi-automatic handguns. He went down in grand, tragic style.
It will soon be fifty years since , but his legacy lives on.
I understandably disagree with some his methods but the nobility of his motivation and the courage of his human spirit are indisputable.
There is a detailed wiki article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_X if you’re interested ;)
P.S : Trying to prevent my (writing) skills from going rusty.