The Legacy Of Malcolm X Essay Research

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The Legacy Of Malcolm X Essay, Research Paper The LeGaCy oF maLcoLm X (El hajj Malik El Shabazz) The 1960’s was the heart of the civil rights movement. Amidst the chaos, nonviolence policies, the marches and the police brutalities, many black leaders strived to unite the blacks and win them their rights. Among these leaders was a man named Malcolm X, also known as El Hajj Malik El Shabazz. The most common response to his legacy revolves on what he did wrong. People, regardless of race will say, Malcolm promoted violence, he hated white people, he hated other black leaders and he was only thinking of himself. However the truth, is that Malcolm wanted what everyone else in this nation wants: freedom. He wanted to be able to live peacefully without police brutality, injustice

of the courts and the title “second class citizen.” In a society full of hatred and chaos, Malcolm wanted love and peace. To understand Malcolm’s views, to comprehend his feelings against the oppressive acts of white people (not the whites themselves), one must take a look at his past, his life story and his struggles. Malcolm Little was born in Omaha Nebraska in the year 1925. His parents, Reverend Earl Little and Louise Little; both believed and worked towards the unity of black people. In his early childhood his family moved to Lansing, Michigan. Growing up in Lansing, Malcolm saw his house burned down at the hands of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan. Two years later his father was run over and killed by a streetcar. The authorities, declared that it was a suicide, but

most knew it was an act of violence against the reverend’s determined efforts to unite the blacks. His mother, unable to bear the shock, was put into a mental institution for the following twenty-six years. Malcolm, once a brilliant student, spent the following years in detention homes and at age 15 he dropped out from school. In 1941 he moved to Boston to live with his half sister Ella. For the two years that followed he worked on a passenger trains as a dishwasher. He always dreamed of going to New York and once he had saved enough money, he did just that. In the streets of Harlem’s underworld, he became a hustler, pimp, drug pusher and later on a drug user. In 1946, Malcolm was arrested, while stealing to support a drug addiction. He was to serve a term of ten years at

Charleston State Prison. In 1947 he was transferred to the Concord Reformatory, where he converted to the Black Muslim faith, known as the Nation of Islam; this sect claims the superiority of black people and an inherent evil nature in whites. Upon his release at age 27, he set out for the headquarters of the Nation of Islam in Chicago, where he met the leader Elijah Muhammad. There he changed his last name to “X”, a custom of the Black Muslims who consider that their family names have originated from white slaveholders. The “X” represents the unknown names of their slave ancestors. Malcolm X was sent on speaking tours around the country and soon became the most effective speaker and organizer for the Nation of Islam. He founded many new temples and greatly increased the

movement’s membership. In 1961 he founded Muhammad Speaks, the official publication of the movement. He was eventually assigned to be minister of the important Temple Number Seven in New York City’s Harlem area. Speaking with bitter eloquence against the white exploitation of black people, Malcolm developed a brilliant style, which soon won him a large and dedicated following. Malcolm often criticized the hypocrisy of whites; teaching love and democracy while treating blacks as inferiors. In his speech “Message to the Grass Roots,” he chastises the blacks for their psychological dependence on whites. As long as the white man sent you to Korea you bled. He sent you to Germany, you bled. He sent you to the South Pacific to fight the Japanese, you bled. You bleed for white