|He was variously known as Malcolm Little, Detroit
Red, Satan, Malcolm X and Al-Haj Malik Ash-Shabazz. He was successively a street hustler
and thief, a drug addict, a convict, a Muslim convert, a Black Nationalist and a
charismatic preacher. In a short span of thirty-nine eventful years, he journeyed from the
dark edge of poverty and discrimination through the sordid world of crime, into the
chaotic arena of racial activism and finally, by the time his life ended, to the lofty
perch of spiritual illumination.
Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965, as he was preparing to speak before a gathering at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. A week before, his house was firebombed. On February 16, he had sagely told a friend, "I have been marked for death in the next five days." He was right.
Apparently, Malcolms Haj-induced metamorphosis into an internationally-respected preacher of Islamic orthodoxy and advocate of African unity, and his increasing ability to draw support from Islamic and African countries, threatened certain quarters in the United States. At the time of his death, Malcolm had severed ties with the Nation of Islam led by his former patron and "savior" Elijah Muhammad, the self-styled messenger of Allah. Malcolm X had established the Moslem Mosque, Inc. on March 12, 1964 and the Organization of African-American Unity (OAAU) on June 28, 1964. He had gone on a pilgrimage to Makkah, toured African countries, established ties with powerful figures in the Muslim world, and reconciled with an equally powerful and respected Christian leader of the civil rights movement in America, Martin Luther King.
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