There he became involved in petty criminal activities in his teenage years. Sporting flamboyant pinstriped zoot suitshe frequented nightclubs and dance halls and turned more fully to crime to finance his lavish lifestyle.
His father was killed while Malcolm was still very young, possibly by white supremacists. Malcolm X has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history and inTime named The Autobiography of Malcolm X one of the ten most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century.
Malcolm, however, suspected he was silenced for another reason. He excelled academically and was well liked by his classmates, who elected him class president.
He learned to place the American civil rights movement within the context of a global anti-colonial struggle, embracing socialism and pan-Africanism. He and the Nation of Islam were described as hatemongers, black supremacists, racists, violence-seekers, segregationists, and a threat to improved race relations.
In response to the outrage this statement provoked, Elijah Muhammad ordered Malcolm to observe a day period of silence, and the break between the two leaders became permanent.
Malcolm's feelings of betrayal, combined with Muhammad's anger over Malcolm's insensitive comments regarding the assassination of John F.
It wasn't long before Malcolm X was the second most influential member of the Nation of Islam after their leader, Elijah Muhammad.
A tremendous resurgence of interest occurred in when director Spike Lee released the acclaimed movie, Malcolm X. After quitting school, Malcolm X moved to Boston to live with his older half-sister, Ella, about whom he later recalled, "She was the first really proud black woman I had ever seen in my life.
He also criticized the mainstream civil rights movement, challenging Martin Luther King, Jr. Malcolm X's mother never recovered from the shock and grief over her husband's death.