My perspective on Malcolm X’s impact

Usually when you ask a person whose views or opinion they agree with during the Civil Rights Movement regarding Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X more than likely they will say King. Some, not all. If you ask them why, their reasoning will be because he stood for non-violence and Malcolm was the opposite; so they think. I too felt the same way, for a while. I was so biased towards X, and I thought he was a bad man who made us look bad. It wasn't until I watched his movie that I changed my mind on how I felt and saw to it that I get more information on the man whom I now look up to as a mentor or idol. 

As I said, I watched the entire movie for the first time when I was in high school, before then I saw bits and pieces of the movie. In school I learned the basics; I learned he was a Muslim and that he practiced getting his point across with violence, which was the opposite of King. I always remember the near ending of the movie, when he traveled to Mecca and changed his views. That movie gave me a change of heart, thinking maybe he wasn't bad after all.

Malcolm X was a great leader, someone who left a great impact on this world all together. In his younger life he started off rocky, being put in jail. That’s when he found out about the Nation of Islam, giving up pork and cigarettes along with forming a relationship with Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm was born Malcolm Little, later changing his name to Malcolm X saying he was taking away the name he got from his ancestors’ slave masters. He was released from prison in August 1952 on parole. He then visited Muhammad in Chicago and became the Assistant Minister to a temple. Following that, X began to open several temples causing him so much attention the FBI began to instigate him. X was a powerful speaker, with the power to convert many African Americans to the Nation of Islam. His leadership is what led many black people to stand up for themselves and actually have a voice. After the beating of a fellow NOI member, X formed an assembly outside the station demanding to see his brother along with getting him treated for his injuries. After having his demands met he disbursed the crowd leaving an officer to say “No one man should have all that power.” 

One of his focuses was to teach black people to love themselves, to support their own people and uplift their own. He wanted black people to become a better race, a powerful race one that stood up for one another as the white race does. His teachings and speeches focused on empowering the black community. His views as a member of the NOI were that black people are the original people of the world, that white people are “devils”, that blacks are superior to whites, and that the demise of the white race is imminent. I didn't agree with these teachings, but the older I got an the more knowledge I gained on the history of my people and what they went through I understand better why he would teach these teachings. The two I don't agree with are “blacks are superior to whites,” because I don't believe no one should feel they are better than anyone; I truly believe every race is equal. We are all one in the same. The only difference which could be a big one is we have different cultures and appearances. I also disagree with him saying “that the demise of the white race is imminent.” I don’t promote death unless it’s someone’s time, I also don't believe in wishing death upon someone. In 1964 X departed from the NOI. He began having issues with the then leader, Muhammad after he bag to display violence against the police. He then decided to take a trip to Mecca where he began to change his views. Being a muslim he prayed with He became a Sunni Muslim. 

Although X did promote violence at a point of his life, he later changed. He is someone I look up to and often  one I refer to when needing insight on leadership because of is mission, something he died fighting for.


DeQuanna Alexander is a senior mass communication major from New Orleans, Louisiana.