Malcolm X, a major figure in the Black Power movement and a voice for the black community, was assassinated in 1965. He was shot while giving a speech at Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom by members of his own organization, the Nation of Islam. His death sparked riots across several cities and left many wondering what had happened.
Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. He was put up for adoption by his parents when he was just six months old because they were both members of the Ku Klux Klan. The family that adopted him was white and poor—his father worked as a house painter and his mother was a domestic worker—but he didn’t know any different until he was 12 years old when he found out that his real name wasn’t Malcolm Little but actually Malcolm X.
He struggled for years to find his identity after learning about his real family history and eventually joined the Nation of Islam (NOI). He became an outspoken leader of the group before leaving it altogether due to disagreements with its leader Elijah Muhammad over tactics used by members against other blacks.