Powerful Muslim minister and noted civil rights leader Malcolm X made great strides for the advancement of African Americans. A towering figure of the civil rights era, he is especially known for harsh indictments against white society for its crimes against black Americans.
Malcolm became a militant activist and follower of the Nation of Islam—a black nationalist religious movement based on traditional Islamic teachings and Marcus Garvey’s principles of black nationalism—during his time in prison for burglary. After his release, he quickly turned into a powerful, polarizing spokesman for the movement but split from it in 1964 to start the Organization of Afro-American Unity. He was assassinated in 1965.