Skip to main content

FunTimes Magazine

Malcolm X: A Leader By All Means Necessary

May 19, 2021 02:00PM ● By Kassidy Garland
malcolm x

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska. Malcolm Little’s family moved to Michigan shortly after his birth. His father, Reverend Earl Little, passed away in 1931 and his mother was institutionalized in 1939, leaving the family destitute. Malcolm and his siblings were split up as they entered the foster care system or lived with other family members. He did well in school but discontinued his formal education at a young age. After moving to Boston, Massachusetts to stay with family, Malcolm became embedded in the crime world, selling drugs and hustling.


While in prison for robbery from 1946 to 1952, Malcolm was led to the Nation of Islam. He changed his way of life, quitting smoking, eating pork, and gambling in order to be more in line with his newfound religion. He attempted to better his education while still in prison, and eventually changed his surname to “X” rather than keeping a name that was originated by white slave owners.

After prison, Malcolm X quickly rose through the ranks, becoming the minister of Boston Temple No. 11, and then No. 7 in Harlem, and eventually becoming number 2 in the orginazation, right under Elijah Muhammad. His public speaking abilities, charismatic personality, and anger toward the system, paired with his Black nationalism, resonated with the people.


He often clashed with Martin Luther King, Jr. and his ideas of integration and nonviolence. He became known for his belief that Black people should defend themselves “by any means necessary”. Due to Malcolm X’s work, the words to describe African-American people changed to “Black” and “Afro-American” rather than “Negro” and “colored”.

After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm’s relation to the Nation of Islam started to deterioratedeterierate, and he formed Muslim Mosque, Inc. On his pilgrimage to Mecca, he embraced Sunni Islam and changed his name to el-Hajj el-Shabazz. 

The hostility between Malcolm and the Nation of Islam grew, and he was eventually assassinated on February 21, 1965, while giving a speech at the Audobon Ballroom. Three Nation of Islam members were convicted of the crime. His ideology and martyrdom grew in the 1970s, aiding in the Black Power movement.


 Kassidy Garland has had a great appreciation for reading and writing since she was young. She graduated from West Chester University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English & Women and Gender Studies. With a concentration in creative writing, Kassidy has 5 years of experience writing blogs, articles, and for social media. Based out of Philadelphia, Kassidy loves to write about a number of topics and looks forward to sharing her passion with those at FunTimes Magazine. 

Read more from Kassidy Garland:

Celebrating Rosa Parks 65 Years After Her Historic Stand In Montgomery

Martin Luther King, Jr. Becomes Youngest Nobel Prize Laureate

Barack Obama: The First African American President