The Challenges Malcolm X Faced

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Malcolm Little, later known as Malcolm X, was born in Omaha, Nebraska on May 19th, 1925. He was born into an extremely poor household. Malcolm and his siblings had to pick dandelions off the streets and cook the greens to eat. For most of his life, he had an absence of a father figure. When we were young, his father had been attacked and killed by the Klu Klux Klan (KKK). Not too long after his father’s death, the same group burned down his house. The struggle only got worse. After his dad’s death, his mother had to be admitted to an insane asylum. Since Malcolm and his siblings had no place to live they had to go to live with foster parents. Malcolm was very intelligent as a child but his teachers were very discouraging, telling him that he would never be much more than a carpenter because he was black.

Growing up as a black male was difficult at this point in history. Many people had a belief that white people were above every other race, especially blacks. This made it very hard to get a normal job. Sadly, most African American people had to resort to selling drugs or some other illegal practice in order to support themselves and their families. Malcolm was no exception to this. To make a living he sold drugs such as cocaine and marijuana to hustlers and gang members on the street. Not only did he sell drugs but he would also partake in abusing them, using marijuana and even cocaine, as well as alcohol and other intoxicating substances. Being a drug hustler was a risky job so he was always at risk of being arrested.

Malcolm was arrested in the end for robbing multiple houses with his friends. In prison, he found the Muslim religion, Islam. This radically changed his life. In following Allah, he was able to set his life on a straight path again. In addition to his newfound faith, Malcolm educated himself in the prison library in the subjects of history and philosophy. He became very respected by the people that surrounded him.

After serving his ten-year sentence for thievery, he set himself on the right path with the help of his church. The leader, Muhammad, saw great talent in him after he and Malcolm had some personal conversations. Muhammad made Malcolm head-spokesperson of the church.

At this time, more black people, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., had started speaking out about racial inequality. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a pacifist, wanting a peaceful solution to the race conflicts. Malcolm, on the other hand, had a more aggressive outlook. He wanted a separate state for black people to live and work together in. He would lead his black brothers in riots against white people and he would make speeches focused on the dishonesty of the white people.

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In 1963, Malcolm split from the Nation of Islam, because the leader had silenced him for 90 days for bringing negative attention to the Nation through his speeches and actions. He created his own group, the Muslim Mosque, Inc., which focused on the fair treatment of black people. His aggression toward white people lessened at this time. He even considered Martin Luther King, Jr.’s peaceful approach to the problem! This didn’t stop Malcolm from leading black marches, though, and this continued to anger white supremacists.

Malcolm had been threatened for weeks by various people – death threats against himself and his family. Still, he continued to lead marches and make inflammatory speeches. It was during a speech in Manhattan on February 21, 1965, that a small group of men, thought to be from a rival Muslim group, walked up on stage and shot Malcolm X 15 times.

Malcolm had many difficulties. He had no father, and his mother was not able to parent him, so he had no one to teach him right from wrong. He got involved in crime because he needed money and felt that he had no other options. He went to prison for robbery. He was a black man during a time in history when black people were not looked on as equals by white people.

The experiences that Malcolm had were very different from anything I’ve ever experienced. I have a father and mother who are married and equally present in parenting me and teaching me right from wrong. I have no experience with drugs and alcohol and would never even think of resorting to them as a source of income. I do not even know anyone that has been to jail, let alone prison! I am a white man, born into a white family, living in a predominately white community. My life couldn’t be more different than his. We did share one similarity. We both placed our faith in something. Even though the objects of our faiths are different, they each caused us to live our lives in a better way.

Though Malcolm was dead, his legacy lived on in the many people who felt strongly about racial equality. He pushed the boundaries for black people, giving them more room to have a “say” in society. Through his speeches, he empowered black people to have the courage to stand up for themselves. After his death, his murderers were convicted and punished for their crimes. This was uncommon during that time, so even in death, he was involved in circumstances changing for the better for his people.

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The Challenges Malcolm X Faced. (2021, August 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“The Challenges Malcolm X Faced.” Edubirdie, 16 Aug. 2021,
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