Seventh of 11 children, Malcolm was born May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His father, Earl Little, was a Baptist minister and his mother, Louise Norton, was an immigrant from Grenada, at that time Antilles island that belonged to the British Empire. Both had joined the Universal Negro Improvement Association, the Pan-African movement for the liberation of blacks, founded in 1914 by the political Jamaican Marcus Garvey.
At that time among the groups most active there was the racist Ku Klux Klan was founded in Tennessee in 1867 by former members of the Army Southern, outlawed in 1869 and reborn in Georgia in 1915. It was in this organization is attributed, in 1931 , the death of his father Malcolm, guilty of having preached in segregated neighborhoods of the blacks.
In 1937, the chronic lack of income and the serious illness that struck the mother began to break up the family of Malcolm, who was entrusted with some friends. The following year he was expelled from school for "bad conduct and anti-social behavior" and was sent to the house of correction of Lansing. In January 1939 the social workers and the court decided, after the aggravation of the disease, to lock up the mother Louise in an asylum. Meanwhile, Malcolm, in correctional state of Michigan, was noted as a brilliant student, even if he feels very strong discrimination that weighs on his career lawyer.
Soon after, with his family, he settled in the black ghetto of Boston where he worked as a shoeshine and as a servant in restaurants and trains. She joined by some anarchist groups, leaving the job to become an organizer of illegal betting. Also he gets to deal drugs. Wanted by the police, in 1945, he returned to Boston and takes charge of a band of robbers, but the experience was short-lived.
In February 1946, he was arrested over a simple robbery and sentenced to ten years in prison.
From February 1946 to July 1952 Malcolm stayed in three prisons of Massachusetts. The penal colony of Norfolk, where he spent the period 1948-1951, takes its transformation. Through his brother Reginald, Malcolm comes into contact with the Nation of Islam and to its head Elijah Poole, who in the meantime had taken the name of Elijah Muhammad. The Nation of Islam preached separatism self of blacks by whites (necessary before returning to Africa), denounced the racism of the Christian religion and fighting against drugs, tobacco, alcohol, unclean food and all forms of vice.
Malcolm began to study and read by the same time proselytizing among the prison walls. It becomes dangerous to the point that to avoid problems prison authorities decided to release him.
Found work as a clerk, he settled in Inkster, the black ghetto of Detroit, and makes a decision to change the name to "X", an eternal reminder of the deprivation of his true African name that whites had subjected his ancestors in slavery New world.
He decides to work even on the assembly of a car industry and then move to be "rectifying" the Gar Wood, a truck factory, and go back, later, on the east coast, becoming the tireless preacher of the Nation ' islam. It opens and organizes new mosques and transformed the Nation of Islam in a dynamic political-religious group of "Muslims of color, separatists and rigidly organized." In 1958 he married a friend of his movement, Betty Shabazz and settled in New York
In the years 1963-64 he he decided to found a group of followers, "the Organization of Afro-American." I travel in Europe, Middle East and Africa, offer him the right to spread his ideas, which include two fundamental points:
closer cooperation with groups operating in the South and elsewhere in the country and attempting to internationalize the issue of blacks, seeking agreements with Arab countries, especially in Africa, and former colonies, to create a united front and common action.
Meanwhile Malcolm continues to take strong positions against the US government, in domestic and foreign policy, finding the time to finish writing, with the help of journalist Alex Haley, his "Autobiography".
Disagreeing with the pacifism of Martin Luther King, she breaks up with him after the March on Washington, permitted by the central government. But the storm is approaching. During the visit to Cairo is the victim of an attempted poisoning. On his return to New York, February 14, 1965, a bomb attack on the fire to the house from which barely saved with his wife and daughters. February 21 was to hold a conference in New York. He had asked to take away all the journalists and not to frisk anyone. He did not even have time to start the discussion, three men sat in the front row started to shoot at it with rifles and pistols. He was struck by 16 bullets, three of which deadly.
Who was to kill Malcolm X? To date, they are being considered by various hypotheses. There are those who suspect his circle of collaborators, who the FBI and who yet of organized crime and drug trafficking, which, thanks to Malcolm X, had suffered a sharp drop in business.
Recently, a daughter of Malcolm, Qubilah Shabazz, accused the current head of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, to have been the instigator of the murder. Malcolm's widow, Betty, was killed in 1997 by a twelve year old grandson, also named Malcolm.