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The Malcolm X collection : papers

Collection Data

African American nationalist leader and minister of the Nation of Islam who sought to broaden the civil rights struggle in the United States into an international human rights issue, and who subsequently founded the Muslim Mosque Incorporated and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. Assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City on February 21, 1965. Writings, personal memorabilia, organizational papers and printed matter documenting Malcolm X's activities and opinions as the Nation of Islam's first National Minister, and following his separation from the organization and his embrace of orthodox Islam in early 1964, as a prominent advocate of human rights and self-determination for African-Americans.
X, Malcolm, 1925-1965 (Creator)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1948 - 1965
Library locations
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
Shelf locator: Sc MG 721
African Americans -- Religion
Black Muslims
Black nationalism -- United States
Archival materials
Biographical/historical: Chronology 1925 Malcolm X is born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska. 1947 Joins the Nation of Islam while serving an 8 to 10 year prison sentence in Massachusetts jails on charges of grand larceny and breaking and entering. 1952 Released on parole, travels to Detroit, where he works for a time as a furniture salesman and at the Ford Motor Company. 1953 Moves to Chicago and studies for the Nation of Islam ministry under Elijah Muhammad's guidance. A declassified FBI memorandum notes that he became the subject of a security investigation and of a Communist Card Index. 1954 Becomes Minister of Muhammad's Temple of Islam in Harlem. Is instrumental over the next several years in building the Nation of Islam into a mass organization. A November 10 FBI report notes that "Subject is single and travels a lot" between Chicago, Detroit, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia. 1957 Police beating of NOI member Hinton Johnson in New York. Gains notoriety for his deployment of a disciplined contingent of Black Muslims in front of the Harlem police precinct where the victim was detained. 1958 Marries Betty X Saunders. 1959 Television documentary "The Hate That Hate Produced" is aired, propelling the organization into the national limelight. Travels to the Middle East, West Africa and the Sudan, to lay the groundwork for Elijah Muhammad's Middle East tour later that year. 1960 Family moves to East Elmherst, Queens. Lectures on college campuses, speaks at Unity Rally in Harlem, debates Bayard Rustin on the radio. Meets with Fidel Castro at the Theresa Hotel in Harlem. Launches Muhammad Speaks newspaper in New York. 1961 As National Representative of Elijah Muhammad, travels to California and later to the Deep South. Lectures at Brown, Harvard and Howard Universities. Debates National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Youth Secretary at Yale University. Leads protest march in front of the United Nations following assassination of Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. Substitutes for Elijah Muhammad in weekly radio broadcast, "Muhammad Speaks. " 1962 Debates Bayard Rustin and other civil rights personalities on "Integration vs. Separation". Returns to West Coast to lead NOI response in the police killing of L. A. Mosque Secretary Ronald Stokes. Assumes leadership of Philadelphia Mosque. Cancels all his college and university appearances in the fall on orders from Elijah Muhammad. Travels to Buffalo and Rochester, NY, to lead in legal defense of Muslim inmates denied the right to practice their faith, and to organize against police brutality. 1963 Leads Black Muslim demonstration in Times Square. Speaks at Harlem rally with Dick Gregory and Adam Clayton Powell in support of civil rights struggle in Mississippi. Serves as Interim Minister of Washington, DC Mosque. Begins work on Autobiography with Alex Haley. Denounces the March on Washington as a farce. Delivers speeches "The Black Revolution" and "Message to the Grassroots". Suspended and silenced for "Chicken Coming Home to Roost" remark, following President Kennedy's assassination. 1964 Vacations in Miami with his family on invitation from Cassius Clay (Mohammad Ali). Officially leaves Nation of Islam, citing pressures from "officials" within the organization. Files certificate of incorporation for the Muslim Mosque, Inc. Delivers speech "The Ballot or the Bullet". Leaves on a six-week trip to the Middle East and Africa. Launches the Organization of Afro-American Unity. Leaves on a four-month trip to the Middle East and Africa. Addresses meetings in Paris and London. Speaks at rally in Harlem in support of Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. 1965 Speaks at several OAAU rallies in Harlem. Flies to Los Angeles in late January to meet with two former secretaries filing paternity suits against Elijah Muhammad. Travels to Selma, Alabama, on February 4, and the next day to London. East Elmherst home firebombed in the early morning of February 14. Flies the same day to Detroit where he gives his last major speech at a public rally. Addresses an OAAU rally at the Audubon Ballroom on February 15 and is evicted from his Queens home the next day. Gunned down at the Audubon Ballroom on February 21 while addressing an OAAU rally.
Content: The Malcolm X Collection is divided into nine series, the bulk of which range from 1961 to 1964. The papers consist of personal and family memorabilia, correspondence, writings and notes, selected organizational records and printed matter. They provide an in-depth documentation of Malcolm X as Black Muslim theologian, black nationalist ideologue, propagandist for the Nation of Islam, and skilled organizer — with occasional glimpses of his private or family life. Overall, the collection's original order has been preserved.
Source note: Photographs transferred to Photographs and Prints Division of Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
Reproduction: Microfilm - Sc Micro R-6270
Physical Description
Extent: 6.2 linear feet (15 archival boxes,1 record carton and 2 flat boxes)
Type of Resource
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b15945994
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 2d911c70-cdea-0133-fe65-00505686d14e
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