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Malcolm X (1925)close

Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, he saw his childhood home in Lansing, Michigan burned by the Ku Klux Klan. Shortly afterwards, his father was murdered and his mother was placed in a mental institution. He spent much of his childhood in juvenile detention homes. In 1946, while serving time in prison for burglary, he converted to the Black Muslim faith, and when he was released, went to work with the leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad. At that time, he changed his name to Malcolm X using the "X" to signify his belief that his last name had been chosen for him by white slaveholders. Malcolm X quickly became a leader in the radical black power movement, calling for black separatism, and supporting the use of violence when necessary to accomplish the movement's goals. However, after a trip to Mecca in 1964, Malcolm X began to moderate his views, and eventually left the Nation of Islam and converted to orthodox Islam. He was murdered by a group of Black Muslims in 1965.

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