African Americans - Malcolm X

  • Created by: Alasdair
  • Created on: 15-05-17 10:14
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  • Malcolm X
    • Background
      • Originally called Malcolm Little
      • Son of minister and activist, Earl Little
        • Follower of Marcus Garvey
        • Strong believer in African separatism and nationalism
        • Family as result, suffered racist persecution both in their hometown of Omaha and in Michigan
        • Found dead in 1931
        • Malcolm's mother had a mental breakdown in 1937
      • Malcolm drifted to Boston - became professional criminal
      • Imprisoned from 1947 to 1952
      • Underwent conversion to Islam
        • Joined  small radical group NOI
    • Skills in speaking and writing
    • Responsible for rapid growth in membership of NOI
      • 400 in 1952 to possibly 40,000 or more by 1960
    • Unlike any major leaders, preached violent revolution, urging AAs not to reject any means for change.
    • Range of his ideas went beyond that of his predecessor
      • Linking socialism with pan-nationalism, anti-colonialism and radical Islam
      • This anc conerns about Elijah Muhammad's genuine belief in Islamic moral principles, led to break with NOI in 1964
        • By now, Malcolm less committed to violence and more to force of purely  spiritual values.
    • Just as King became more politically radical in later life, Malcolm X ironically softened his approach, particularly after trip to Africa and Middle East and completing hajj.
    • Assassinated at meeting in Manhattan in 1965
    • Following should be factored in when considering Malcolm X's impact on civil rights
      • Influence he had, for instance on emergence of Black Power movement, was considerable
      • Given aims, not possible for him to claim similar successes King could claim over civil rights legislation
      • Less popular support than Garvey at height and perhaps less coherent strategy
      • Considerable influence in promoting sense of pride and identity among AAs that did not depend on integration or accepting white values.


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