Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska in 1925. He was the grandson of a slave and the son of a Baptist minister. His family moved to Lansing, Michigan when he was six years old.
Malcolm X attended high school in Detroit and then enrolled at Eastern Michigan University where he studied public speaking and debate. After graduating from college with honors, Malcolm X worked as a boxer before joining the Nation of Islam in 1953. In 1964, Malcolm X became a follower of Elijah Muhammad who led the Nation of Islam until his death in 1975. In 1963, Malcolm X gave his famous “Ballot or Bullet” speech which called for an end to racism and discrimination against African Americans by white Americans.
In 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated while giving a speech at a rally in New York City by three members of the Nation of Islam which had broken away from him because they disagreed with his vision for civil rights for blacks within America rather than for all black people around world (i.e., pan-Africanism).