Malcolm X was born, Malcom Little to Earl Little and Louise Helen Norton. His
father was an outspoken Baptist lay preacher and supporter of Marcus Garvey. Malcom
described his father as a big black man who had lost one eye.
Two days later, Malcom was indicted once again for carrying firearms. On January 16th,
Malcom was charged with Grand Larceny and Breaking and Entering. Malcom was
sentenced to eight to ten years in Massachusetts State Prison. It was while he was
serving time for Burglary, when Malcom began to study the teachings of the honorable
Elijah Mohammed, the leader of the Nation of Islam. The “Black Muslim” doctrine as
espoused by Elijah Mohammed placed a premium on Black unity; Mohammed
emphasized how critically important it was for all black people to unite under the nation
to improve their position in life. Mohammed foretold of black unity so strong that it
would preclude the black man from depending on any sources or anyone outside of the
Nation of Islam. Moreover, Elijah Mohammed taught his followers that America was a
racist society ruled by the “white devil” and that the source of black discontent was
embedded in the white devils superior attitude towards blacks. To be sure, Elijah
Mohammed made a lot of sense to Malcolm Little, consequently when he was released
from serving his prison term, Malcom joined the nation of Islam and adopted the name
Malcolm X. Malcom explained the name by saying the “X” is meant to symbolize the
rejection of “slave names” and the absence of an inherited African name to take its place.
The “X” is also the brand that many slaves received on their upper arm. This rationale led
many members of the Nation of Islam to change their surnames to X.