El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz was born Malcolm Little at University Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, May 19, 1925. He was the son of Earl and Louise Little, 3448 Pinkney Street. Reverend Little helped organize the Universal Negro Improvement Association. After threats by night riders, the family moved to Milwaukee and later to Michigan, where Reverend Little allegedly was murdered. During his mother's illness, Malcolm was sent to Boston, then to New York, where he committed burglary. While serving a six and one-half year prison sentence, he became self-educated and converted to an American sect of Islam.
After leaving prison, Malcolm took the name Malcolm X, studied under Elijah Muhammad, and became outspoken abut mistreatment of Blacks. His Autobiography of Malcolm X was published in 1964. During a pilgrimage to Mecca, he converted to orthodox Islam. He abandoned concepts of racial antagonism and counseled the need for human brotherhood and international cooperation. Malcolm X formed the Organization of Afro-American Unity in 1964 and became renowned as an articulate spokesperson for human rights.
Malcolm X was assassinated February 21, 1965, in New York City. His teaching lives on.