By Any Means Necessary
June 23, 2013
“We declare our right on this earth…to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.” Theses are the words of Malcolm X, a civil rights leader and political activist in the 1960s. Malcolm X was perhaps one of the most controversial elements in the civil rights movement. His life was full of racism and discrimination. Though his early life was full of ups and downs, he managed to “turn his life around”. In doing this he managed to gain the upper hand of the African American culture by giving them hope that one day they would if not be apart of, what he called, “white mans society”
Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska on May 19, 1925. He was the fourth of eight children. His mother Louise Norton Little, was a homemaker. She was born to a black mother and a white father. Earl Little, his father was a Baptist minister and avid supporter of Black Nationalist leader Marcus Gravey. Death threats from the white supremacist organization, the Black Legion, and Ku Klux Klan was imminent before Malcolm X was born due to Earls civil rights activism.
While Louise Little was pregnant with Malcolm, the Ku Klux Klan threatened the family and even stormed their home because Earl was “spreading trouble among the good Negroes.” Because of this, Earl relocated his family first to Milwaukee, in 1926, then to Lansing, Michigan, in 1928. He was told to move out and was taken to court because the land contract stated only Caucasians could live there. Before the eviction took place the house was burned to the ground, but the Little family escaped safely.
From there, Earl Little moved his family to a more segregated area in East Lansing. In 1930, though, they decided the racial segregated situation was too stressful. So, Earl Little built his family a new home two miles out of town.
In less than a year, tragedy struck. It was September 28, 1931 when Earl Little was beaten, left, and hit by a streetcar. Malcolm Little was only six years old at the time he died. Whether it was an accident or a murder is disputed. The authorities ruled it, though, as a suicide. The Little family believed the Black Legion was responsible for the murder of Earl.
Louise Little, during the height of the Great Depression, found it increasingly stressful to care for her children. The family fell into a financial hardship without being able to collect Earl’s life insurance because his death certificate stated he killed himself. They eventually ended up on welfare. His mother frequently suffered emotional breakdowns for several years after the death. She gave birth to two more children. Then, when Malcolm was thirteen, she was committed to Kalamazoo Mental Institution for having a paranoia condition. Louise Little remained institutionalized for over twenty years.
It has been noted that before she was committed Malcolm had already been removed from her care by authorities for stealing. He was placed with the Gohannas, a white family who fostered him. Although he enjoyed his time there, he was split up from his brothers and sisters and missed them very much. It was not long before Malcolm was expelled from West Junior High School and placed into a detention home. He was supposed to go to a reform school but they decided to place him in Mason Junior High School, the only regular public junior high school in town. Malcolm was successful and excelled to the top of his class despite his difficult home life and past. He was vice president of his seventh grade class and played on the basketball team. He dealt with racism when he played basketball in predominately white towns. However, it didn’t affect him much and he was accepted in Mason, even though as a black person he was not on equal terms with whites.
It was in eighth grade when Malcolm...
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