Malcolm X was born in Nebraska and died a long way from home – in New York City. There are probably some who have never heard the name unless you perhaps read his autobiography in school.
Malcolm X born Malcolm Little in 1925 was assassinated in 1965. To those who thought him great he was a human rights activist and and advocate of African Americans. For those who didn’t like him he was antisemitic and racist. He may have been the most influential African American in history. (Other than Barack Obama!)
Malcolm grew up in foster homes after his father died when he was 13 and his mother was in a mental institution. It is no wonder that he got involved in illegal acts which landed him in prison in 1946 for ten years.
In prison he became a member of the Nation of Islam and after he got out of jail in 1952 he became their spokesperson. Malcolm X left the organization in 1964 because of Elijah Muhammed, the head of the Nation of Islam. The “spat” was because Malcolm converted to orthodox Islam.
Less than a year after he left the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X was assassinated while giving a speech in New York.
On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X began to speak to a meeting of the Organization of Afro-American Unity when a disturbance broke out in the crowd. A man yelled, “Nigger! Get your hand outta my pocket!” As Malcolm X and his bodyguards moved to quiet this man either he or someone else shot Malcolm X. He was hit a total of 16 times by two other men in the crowd. (wikipedia)
Thomas Hagen aka Talmade Hayer was arrested along with Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson. All three were convicted of the murder of Malcolm X. At the trial Thomas Hagan said that the other two were not involved leaving him the only one who admitted his crime. This man was paroled today after 44 years in prison. Why wasn’t he given life without parole? He was given 20 years to life.
Hagen is now 69-years old. He had been living with his family five days a week and reporting to prison the other two days. This is called a full-time work release program. He had been allowed to do this for the past 18 years. He pleaded in front of the parole board for the 15th time and told them he would stay with him family and become a substance abuse counselor. Come on – the guy is 69-years old and unless that was his job during his work-release time the chances of his taking this on is nil. In fact he has been working in a restaurant and in order to be paroled had to hold that job, which he has for seven years. He must live with a curfew and support his children. Those were the conditions of his release.
Malcolm X has been a role model for others who regard him as coming from crime to becoming a leader.
I am a child of the 60s. I was the only white college student in a Black History course. I saw Malcolm X as the model of Black Power – of fists raised in anger. This was a radical time, however, for many. The adoption of the slogan black is beautiful is traced back to Malcolm X.