Q:

Why is Malcolm X important?

A:

Quick Answer

According to Biography.com, Malcolm X is important because he was one of the most prominent and controversial black leaders during the civil rights era of the 1950s and 1960s, advocating black pride, a separate black community and violence as a means of self-defense. After his assassination in 1965, his book "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" became a bestseller and one of the most influential non-fiction books of modern times.

Know More
Why is Malcolm X important?
Credit: Getty Images Archive Photos Getty Images

Full Answer

Incarcerated for larceny in 1946, Malcolm X self-educated himself in the prison library. While still in prison he converted to the Nation of Islam, a black Muslim movement, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. When he was released in 1952, he began to work with Elijah Muhammad, the Nation of Islam's leader. Malcolm X became a powerful and inspirational orator and one of the major black leaders opposing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of non-violent racial integration.

In 1963, Malcolm X broke with Elijah Muhammad, shocked by his mentor's hypocrisy and immorality in fathering several illegitimate children, according to Biography.com. In 1964, Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam and journeyed to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to perform hajj. While travelling through Africa and the Middle East, he began to re-evaluate his beliefs. When he returned to the United States, he advocated a less violent approach to race relations and appeared close to reconciling with the mainstream civil rights movement. However, on Feb. 21, 1965, just as he was about to deliver a speech, three members of the Nation of Islam shot and killed him.

Learn more about US History

Related Questions

  • Q:

    For what did Malcolm X fight?

    A:

    According to About.com, Malcom X began fighting against integration and for a separate black community after joining the Nation of Islam. He believed in the use of violence and carried a message of black pride in the face of what he saw as evil coming from white men.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What did Malcolm X do in the Civil Rights Movement?

    A:

    Malcolm X, the African-American activist and minister of the Black Muslim faith, challenged Martin Luther King's plan for nonviolent integration during the civil rights movement. Malcolm X rejected integration with white Americans and also opposed nonviolence, encouraging his followers to defend themselves against racial aggression with any means necessary.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is Malcolm X famous for?

    A:

    Malcolm X was known as an outspoken activist who was highly vocal about the poor treatment of blacks in the United States. He lived from 1925 to 1965 and was involved in one of the most important pushes for equal rights in American history.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Who killed Malcolm X?

    A:

    Thomas Hagan, also known as Talmadge Hayer, killed Malcolm X on Feb. 21, 1965. Hagan was arrested at the scene and claimed the two other suspects were not involved. He claimed that he worked with four willing accomplices to assassinate Malcolm X; two of them were also convicted accordingly.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore