Every year, in both February & May, people have celebrations, concerts, grave-visits, lectures, and the whole nine-yards, in homage to this one man, Malcolm Little (May Allah mercify him). It’s still very obvious that the life of Malcolm Little (May Allah mercify him) still grabs our attention, and intrigue, even after his death. In light of that fact, I’ve written some very short points about the evolution of his life.
The Preacher’s son-
His father, Earl Little, was a preacher, in their hometown of Omaha Nebraska. Unfortunately, he was savagely murdered by Klu Klux Klan members, marking one of his first negative memories of racist-inspired violence, against him, his family, or his people.
As a result of emerging from a broken-home (because of his father being killed & his mother being driven to insanity, via external-pressures, to shuffle both Malcolm & his many siblings into the foster-care system), discouraged to academically excel in school, because of his ethnic-background, he eventually turned to a life of crime. He began to sell drugs, became a racketeer, larcenist, and a pimp, operating mainly between New York City & Boston.
In 1946, Malcolm was eventually caught, as a result of a high-profile robbery heists, that he was directly involved in, while operating in Boston. He was sentenced to 8-10 years in prison, but ended up only serving 6 years out of his bid, being released in 1952.
At the behest of several of his family-members, he eventually joined the Nation of Islam, a pseudo-Islamic group, founded by Wali Farad (AKA Fard Muhammad), and at that time, under the leadership of Elijah Poole (AKA Elijah Muhammad), which inherently taught that the founder of the Nation of Islam, Wali Fard, is Allah incarnate (basically hijacking the classic Christian belief of Jesus, the Son of Mary [Peace be upon him] as being Allah incarnate), the Black man is a “god” & that the White man is a “devil”, even though, ironically, Wali Farad, himself, had an Indian father (Subcontinental-Indian, not Native-American) & a White mother, according to the teachings of the Nation itself. Initially, he was not privy to be a part of any religion, as a result of his general mistrust of institutions, based upon his life-experience. But, one of his brothers, Reginald Little, had been corresponding with him, about the teachings of the Nation. The particular teachings of the Nation that appealed to Malcolm were the falsified rhetoric that White people are inherently “Devils”. But, it was something that Malcolm gravitated towards, because, in all honesty, he never had a concrete positive experience with anyone who had been White. So, it would be very easy for someone like him, with his life-experiences, to accept these teachings, which he did. And, this was his initial entry-point into the Nation of Islam.
From 1952 to 1963, Malcolm was an active member of the Nation of Islam, flying through the ranks rather quickly, surpassing members of the Nation, who had been with Elijah Poole since he assumed leadership of the Nation of Islam, from Wali Farad, becoming a top-seed Minister, and eventually the Nation’s national representative. In those days, he’s most remembered for his outspoken, belligerent rants, about the racist-inspired power-structure of the United States, as well as other nations, his callous historical references to the atrocities of the “White-Race”, thus justifying the Nation of Islam’s brand of reverse-racism, labeling all Whites as evil, and his will & want for Blacks to be treated with the respect that is owed to them.
What initially drove Malcolm to become a Muslim was his growing popularity within the Nation, and in the public-eye, which caused envy in the hearts of those who were in Elijah’s inner-circle, who were insinuating that he wanted to replace Elijah, as the leader of the Nation of Islam. His popularity in the Nation, however, came to an ironically abrupt end, in 1963, with the death of President JFK. This, of course, being a great loss to the country, the ministers of the Nation had been given specific orders to not make any negative statements against President Kennedy. Malcolm, of course broke rank, and went on as business as usual, making his infamous public “Chickens Coming Home To Roost” speech while interviewed by the press, shortly after the assassination of JFK. As a result, of the negative backlash of his actions, he was barred from speaking, publicly, anywhere, on behalf of the Nation of Islam, for 90-days.
There was also the constant, and ever-growing popularity of rumors floating around, that Elijah was getting several of his secretaries, from different parts of the United States pregnant. He was not married to any of these women, by the way, so of course, this is something of a big deal. With him claiming to be a Prophet & all, it would’ve been essential for him to have a squeaky-clean reputation & without one, how could anyone buy into one’s claim to Prophethood. So, of course, coming from a scam-artists background, began to investigate as to whether these accusations had any truth behind them. It turns out that one of Elijah Poole’s sons, Wallace Poole (AKA Warith-ud-Din Muhammad [May Allah mercify him]), whom at the time was at the top of the food-chain in the Nation, and a member of his father’s inner-circle, actually confirmed the accusations made against his own father to Malcolm. Malcolm had actually went to Elijah & pressed him for the truth, which Elijah actually admitted that he did conduct the affairs with these secretaries. Upon this, he was heart-broken, disenchanted, and betrayed.
All of these happenings occurring at once in such a short time-period drove him far away from the Nation, to the extent that he had felt that he needed something more, something greater than the Nation of Islam, both for spiritual-evolution, as well as for social-activism. He eventually became acquainted with some leaders of Orthodox-Sunni Muslim groups in New York, at the encouragement of Wallace Poole, the son of Elijah Poole, to did deeper into the classical teachings of Islam. He did & upon that, he discovered true Islam, this becoming an actual Muslim, in 1964 & in this same year, Malcolm embarked upon the Pilgrimage to Makkah, the fifth Pillar of Islam. While there, his entire perception of what Islam really was, what White & Black was, and how Humans, generally, can co-exist together made a huge impact upon how he evolved as a Muslim, a man, a Human being.
Lessons learned from the Legacy of Malcolm Little-
Ever since his death, 1965, until now, regardless of your religious-orientation, ethnic-background, political-affiliation, social-status, or gender, Malcolm Little has made his mark upon all of us. However, there is one very important thing that people always forget whenever mentioning him, that I must address: He was a Muslim, this is who he was, this is how he died, as a Muslim, worshipping Allah, the Lord of the Universe. And, honestly, it really pisses me the hell off, when people, especially so-called Muslims, always focus upon other aspects of his life, which are not as important as him dying as a Muslim. Now, clearly, his life is relevant to him being who he was, no doubt. But, the fact is that the last 11 months of his life as a Muslim must be explored & appreciated much more, especially by fellow Muslims, than any other aspect of his life, because within these 11 months of his life, he was able to correct the connection & relationship with his Lord, and follow the true path that Allah wanted for him, as well as for all Human beings.