"Detroit Red"

The Prison Years and
Early Ministry: 1946-55

The Nation of Islam:

The National Spokesman:

Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement

The Silencing, Muhammad Ali and Out: Dec. 1963 - April 1964

The Epiphany of Mecca

African Sojourner, 1964

1965: The Final Months

February 21, 1965:
The Assassination and Aftermath


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Dorothy FardanDorothy Fardan on Malcolm's conversion to NOI theology

Abdul Abdur-RaazaqAbdullah Abdur-Raazaq on Malcolm's recruitment style, pt. 1

Abdullah Abdur-Raazaq on Malcolm's recruitment style, pt. 2

Louis DeCaroLouis DeCaro on the Nation of Islam's theology, pt. 1

Louis DeCaro on the Nation of Islam's theology, pt. 2

DeCaro on Malcolm's early relationship with Elijah Muhammad

The Prison Years and Early Ministry: 1946-55

In January 1946, Little was arrested for burglary and weapons possession charges, and received a ten-year sentence in the Massachusetts prison system. While incarcerated, Little’s siblings introduced him to the Nation of Islam, a tiny black nationalist-oriented religious movement led by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Converting to the NOI’s version of Islam, Little experienced a spiritual and intellectual epiphany behind bars. Emerging from prison in August 1952, as Malcolm X, the talented and articulate young convert was soon the assistant minister of the NOI’s Detroit Temple No. 1. . In 1954, Malcolm X was named minister of Harlem’s Temple No. 7, which he led for just short of a decade. As an itinerant spokesman for black nationalism, Malcolm X traveled constantly across the country, winning thousands of new converts to the NOI.

  • Malcolm X/Haley, Autobiography, Chapters 10-13.
  • De Caro, On the Side of My People, chapters 6-9, pp. 70-125.
  • Rodnell Collins, Seventh Child, Chapter 6, pp. 70-82.
  • C. Eric Lincoln, The Black Muslims in America, Chapters 1, 4-5, pp. 1-31, 63-129.
  • Wayne Taylor, “Premillennium Tension: Malcolm X and the Eschatology of the Nation of Islam,” Souls, Vol. 7, no. 1 (Winter 2005), pp. 52-65. download

  • The Malcolm X Project at Columbia University home