Today in History: Malcolm X

On May 19, 1925, Malcolm Little was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the fourth child of Earl and Louise Little. Malcolm Little would later join the Nation of Islam and change his surname to "X". The African American leader was a Muslim minister, fiery orator and activist who advocated "black power". He died February 21, 1965, in the Audubon Ballroom, assassinated while speaking at a meeting of the Organization of Afro-American Unity.

Audio excerpts from Malcolm X recordings:

“One of my reasons for going out on a limb as I have, is to try and make white people be shocked awake to some of their senses. Because if they don't awake, they're going to find out that this little Negro they thought was passive has become a roaring, uncontrollable lion right at their door-- not at their doorstep, inside their house, in their bed, in the kitchen, in the attic, in the basement. And if you know that in time you can do something about it.”

“Whites can help us but they can't join us. There can be no black-white unity until there is first some black unity. We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves. Concerning nonviolence, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks. There are problems in the community. Some of the examples of those problems are the vices that destroy the moral fiber in our community. Drunkenness, drug addiction, prostitution, organized crime that robs the Negro community of probably 90 percent of its economic potential, and moral potential.”

Thanks to WNYC Archivist Andy Lanset

Malcolm X, March 1964.
Malcolm X, March 1964.
With MLK at the Senate debate on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
With MLK at the Senate debate on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Malcolm X at a 1964 press conference.
Malcolm X at a 1964 press conference.
Bullet holes in back of stage where Malcolm X was shot, February 1965.
Bullet holes in back of stage where Malcolm X was shot, February 1965.
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