El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz was born on May 19 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. He was an African- American Muslim minister and human rights activist. Throughout his life, he embarked on series of burglaries targeting white families up until 1946, where he was arrested for picking up a stolen watch he left for repair in a jewelry shop. He then began serving an eight to ten year jail sentence at Charlestown State Prison. That’s where he met John Brembry, who was a self-educated man. Under Brembry’s wing, he developed a liking to reading.
During Malcolm X’s imprisonment several of his siblings wrote to him about The Nation of Islam, which preached about black self-reliance and unification of African-Americans, free from white American and European domination. In 1948, Malcolm X became a member of The Nation of Islam. After being paroled in 1952, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz visited Elijah Muhammed in Chicago. In the June of 1953, he became the assistant ministers of The Nations Temple Number One in Detroit. Later he established Boston’s Temple Number 11; in the March of 1954, he expanded Temple Number 12 in Philadelphia.
Two months later he was selected to lead Temple Number 12 in Harlem. In 1950, the FBI opened a case file after he wrote a letter to President Truman, expressing opposition to the Korean War and declaring himself a communist. In 1955, Malcolm X continued recruiting efforts by establishing temples in Springfield, Massachusetts(13), Hartford, Connecticut(14), and Atlanta, Georgia(15). Malcolm X first came to public attention after the police beating of Nation of Islam member Johnson Hinton.
On April 26, 1957, two police officers were beating an African-American man when Hinton and two other Nation of Islam’s passed by. Attempting to intervene, Hinton was beaten until he was granted with brain contusions and subdual hemorrhaging. All four men were later arrested. Malcolm X and a group of Muslims went to the police station and demanded to see Hinton. They denied any Muslims were being held, but as the crowd grew, Malcolm X was allowed to speak to Hinton. Later Hinton was driven to a hospital after Malcolm X’s insistence.
Hinton was treated and returned to the station where Malcolm had made arrangements to bail the two Muslims. Hinton was not, and wasn’t allowed to go back to the hospital until his arraignment the following day. Within a month, Malcolm was a under surveillance by the New York City Police Department. In October, after a grand jury had declined to indict the officers of the beating of Hinton, Malcolm X wrote an angry telegram to the police commissioners. Later on that month undercover officers were assigned to infiltrate The Nation of Islam.
In 1950, Malcolm X began to use Malcolm Shabazz and Malik el-Shabazz as his official name. His comments on issues and events were recorded in print, on radio, and on the television frequently. In the September of 1960, Fidel Castro of Cuba came to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly. El-Shabazz was a part of Harlem communities welcome committee, who met with Castro. Malcolm X impressed him so much that he decided to ask him to meet privately. After two hours, Fidel Castro invited Malcolm X to visit Cuba.
Throughout the United Nations General Assembly, Malcolm X was invited to functions of several African Nations. From his adoption of The Nations teachings in 1952 until 1964, Malcolm X promoted his views. While the civil rights fought against racial segregation, Malcolm X advocated it. His speeches had powerful effects on his audiences, whom were tired of waiting for freedom and justice. Many whites and even African-Americans were alarmed by his words. They described Malcolm X and The Nation of Islam as black supremacists.