On this day in 1965, Malcolm X – human rights activist and one of history’s most celebrated African Americans – was assassinated.
Born Malcolm Little, X was a Muslim minister during his life, as well as an icon for African-American rights.
Though he was, for a time, a member of the Nation of Islam, he came to reject their views, and subsequently became a Sunni Muslim, at which point he renounced racialism of any kind and expressed his desire to work with civil rights leaders for better equality for all.
According to George Breitman’s book By Any Means Necessary: Speeches, Interviews, and a Letter by Malcolm X, the FBI had opened a file on Malcolm in 1950 when he wrote a letter to then-President Truman stating his opposition to the Korean War.
In 1964, Malcom met Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington, D.C. after they had both attended the Senate to hear the debate on the Civil Rights Act.
Malcolm became an influential figure to many African-Americans and supporters of civil rights and equality, and continues to be so today.
Photo: Malcolm X (front, right) meets briefly with Martin Luther King, Jr. Wikipedia