Malcolm X
Malcolm X
Airdate March 22, 2006
August 24, 2018 (Update)
Curriculum Social Studies

Malcolm X launched in BrainPOP Social Studies March 22, 2006.


Moby was reading a book about Malcolm X. Tim describes it by answering a letter about Malcolm X.

At the end, Moby ends up spending the night using a flashlight while reading it.


At the end of the updated version, Tim sees Moby doing a report about Malcolm X which is told not to use what he said. He shouts "Have you learned nothing from our Plagiarism movie?" while Moby is leaving.




FYI Edit

Quotables Edit


Malcolm X was known as a great orator, or public speaker. At rallies, in formal speeches and in public debates, he advocated for the human rights of black Americans using his weapon of choice: language. Here are some of his words.

"The common goal of 22 million Afro-Americans is respect as human beings, the God-given right to be a human being. Our common goal is to obtain the human rights that America has been denying us. We can never get civil rights in America until our human rights are first restored. We will never be recognized as citizens there until we are first recognized as humans."

“They call me ‘a teacher, a fomenter of violence.’ I would say point blank, ‘That is a lie. I'm not for wanton violence, I'm for justice.’”

“We are peaceful people, we are loving people. We love everybody who loves us. But we don’t love anybody who doesn’t love us. We’re nonviolent with people who are nonviolent with us. But we are not nonviolent with anyone who is violent with us."

"I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it's for or against."

"We didn't land on Plymouth Rock; the rock was landed on us. We were brought here against our will; we were not brought here to be made citizens. We were not brought here to enjoy the constitutional gifts that they speak so beautifully about today. Because we weren't brought here to be made citizens—today, now that we've become awakened to some degree, and we begin to ask for those things which they say are supposedly for all Americans, they look upon us with a hostility and unfriendliness."

"Concerning nonviolence: it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks."

"That's our motto. We want freedom by any means necessary. We want justice by any means necessary. We want equality by any means necessary. We don't feel that in 1964, living in a country that is supposedly based upon freedom … that we should have to sit around and wait for some segregationist congressmen and senators and a President from Texas in Washington, D. C., to make up their minds that our people are due now some degree of civil rights. No, we want it now or we don't think anybody should have it."

“In the past, yes, I have made sweeping indictments of all white people. I will never be guilty of that again—as I know now that some white people are truly sincere, that some truly are capable of being brotherly toward a black man. The true Islam has shown me that a blanket indictment of all white people is as wrong as when whites make blanket indictments against blacks.”

Famous Faces Edit


The black nationalism advocated by Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam has roots reaching back to the early days of the 20th century. Unlike most of the African-American activists of his time, Marcus Garvey, the founder of the black nationalist movement, didn't want racial integration. Instead, he believed in cultivating pride in a distinct black identity and fighting for a separate nation for black people.

Born in 1887 in Jamaica, Garvey spent his early years as a newspaper editor. At age 27, he founded an organization called the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Its goal was to unite black people around the world—in Africa, the Caribbean, the United States, and elsewhere—into "one great body to establish a country and absolute government of their own."

Not finding much of an audience for his beliefs in Jamaica, Garvey moved to Harlem, in New York City, in 1916. There, he delivered passionate speeches sharing his philosophy of black nationalism and black pride, and developed a significant following. The UNIA started a series of businesses, including a shipping line called the Black Star Line, and a corporation designed to place black-owned factories in American industrial centers. Garvey’s speeches drew tens of thousands of spectators to New York’s Madison Square Garden. By 1920, more than a million people had joined the UNIA.

Among them were Malcolm X's parents, Earl and Louise Little. Earl headed a local chapter of UNIA, and Louise wrote articles for Negro World. the newspaper founded by Garvey. The Littles' belief in Garvey's philosophy had a profound impact on Malcolm and their other children.

But Garvey's separatist beliefs earned him enemies among black civil rights leaders. One of them was W.E.B. Du Bois, head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a civil rights organization fighting for equality and integration within the United States.

Garvey had enemies elsewhere, too. He sought to develop Liberia—an African nation founded by freed American slaves in 1847—as the future homeland of black nationalists. These efforts attracted the attention of the U.S. federal government, which viewed Garvey as an "agitator," someone who stirs up trouble. He was put on trial for mail fraud, sentenced to five years in federal prison, and eventually deported back to Jamaica. Although his influence declined after his conviction, Garvey continued to work toward his goal of a homeland for all black people until his death in 1940.

Arts And Entertainment Edit


In 1992, filmmaker Spike Lee released Malcolm X, a three-hour-and-20-minute epic based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The film traces the full span of Malcolm’s life, from the racist violence that left a permanent mark on his childhood to his trip to Mecca and eventual death.

Malcolm X was the first non-documentary film shot in the Islamic holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. To use the site, Lee had to secure permission from the nation's leader, King Fahd, and bring in an all-Muslim crew. Denzel Washington's remarkable performance in the title role earned him an Academy Award nomination. And Angela Bassett received critical acclaim for her performance as Malcolm’s wife, Betty Shabazz.

The film had been in development since 1968—just three years after Malcom X's assassination. The initial screenplay was commissioned from writers James Baldwin and Arnold Pearl. In the 25 years between that first screenplay and the film's release, the project went through multiple scripts and directors—and plenty of controversy, too.

One key point of debate was the race of the director. The first man picked for the job was Norman Jewison, a prominent Hollywood director with multiple Academy Award nominations. He'd directed several films tackling civil rights issues, plus big-ticket films. But, he was also white. The announcement led to a public outcry, as people demanded a black director for the story of the most renowned black separatist in American history. Jewison was ousted, replaced by Spike Lee. Lee was an up-and-coming black director whose 1989 film, Do the Right Thing, had established him as a hot talent.

But hiring Lee didn’t end the controversy. Some black nationalists and other groups worried that Lee wouldn't do justice to Malcolm's life. They feared he would soften the edges of the leader's story and beliefs to make him seem more acceptable to mainstream audiences.

The film also encountered difficulties in production. The movie studio fought with Lee over budget, and eventually refused to pony up more money. They also capped the film's length at two hours and 15 minutes. So, to finish the movie on his own terms, Lee found the funds elsewhere. He donated more than half his salary, and raised $11 million from African-American celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Prince, and Janet Jackson.

The finished film was greeted with nearly universal praise. While promoting the movie, Lee requested to be interviewed by African-American journalists. He hoped to use his influence to help qualified black writers get assignments. But not all outlets complied with the request. This highlighted how few black writers were hired to cover the film industry, proving Lee's point. One editor credited Lee's appeal with changing their hiring practices.

Malcolm X was a controversial figure in life, and perhaps it was inevitable that the telling of his story would provoke controversy, too. But the film has outlasted the drama of its creation. It's still shown in social studies classes across America, and it was named to the National Film Registry, the Library of Congress's collection of "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" films.

In Depth Edit


Soon after Malcolm X converted to Sunni Islam, he embarked on a hajj, the ritual journey to Islamic holy sites. The hajj is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, the ritual requirements for all Muslims. The other four pillars are: the declaration of faith that there is only one God and that Muhammad is his prophet; daily prayer; giving to charity; and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

Unlike the other four pillars, the hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime event. It is mandatory for every Muslim who is physically, mentally, and financially capable of making the journey. And it must occur during the final month of the Islamic calendar. Called Dhu'l-Hijjah, the month falls during a different time each year on the western calendar. That's because the western calendar is solar: It's based on the earth's revolutions around the sun. The Islamic calendar, on the other hand, is a lunar calendar, based around the monthly cycles of the moon. It's shorter than the solar year.

The pilgrimage is a five-day event. Each year, millions of Muslims make the trip to the holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of both Muhammad and Islam. The hajj commemorates a story in the life of Prophet Ibrahim, known as Abraham in the Jewish and Christian bibles. Ibrahim has two sons: Isaac and Ismail (known in Judeo-Christian tradition as Ishmael). In Islamic tradition, Ibrahim was given a test of faith: to send his baby son, Ismail, along with the baby's mother, Hagar, out into the desert between two hills, with almost nothing to eat or drink.

Hagar, desperate to save her baby, ran back and forth seven times between the hills in search of water. Finally, a miracle occurred: A well sprang up from the ground, saving them both. This became known as the Zamzam well. As part of the hajj, pilgrims re-enact Hagar's search, walking back and forth between the two hills, and finally drinking from the well.

Ismail survived the trial, and he and Ibrahim went on to build a site of worship, called the Kaaba. According to the story, during the construction, a black stone was given to Ibrahim by the angels as a cornerstone, and it's still preserved. The Kaaba resides inside the Grand Mosque of Mecca, a cube-like stone structure covered in black cloth embroidered with holy verses. At both the beginning and the end of the hajj, pilgrims circle the Kaaba seven times counterclockwise, in a ritual known as tawaf (pictured). Throughout the year, no matter where they are in the world, Muslims pray facing Mecca—to direct their prayers toward the Kaaba.

While the hajj is mandatory for Muslims, it is prohibited for non-Muslims. In fact, non-Muslims aren't even allowed to enter the holy city of Mecca! To restrict access to the city, the government of Saudi Arabia strictly controls visas and in-country travel for visitors. During the hajj, the government also maintains a quota system, limiting how many of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims are allowed to come from each country. Even with all the controls, the crowds are enormous. The newly expanded Grand Mosque will be able to accommodate more than 100,000 pilgrims performing the tawaf—per hour!

FYI ComicEdit

There is none.

Primary Source Edit


From 1953 to 1965, the FBI spied on Malcolm X and gathered an extensive file on his civil rights activities and personal life.

Federal Surveillance of Malcolm X, 1964.

Heading: June Memorandum for the Attorney General.

Re: Malcolm K. Little, Internal Security Number 1.

Malcolm K. Little who resides at 23-11 97th Street, East Elmhurst, Queens, New York, is the former minister of Muslim Mosque Number 7 of the Nation of Islam who was suspended by Elijah Muhammad, national leader of the all-Negro semireligious group which teaches Negro supremacy. Little has now completed his break with the Nation of Islam and is forming a new group to be known as Muslim Mosque, Incorporated, in New York which he states will be more aggressive that the Nation of Islam and will participate in racial demonstrations and civil rights activities. He has recommended the possession of firearms by members for their self-protection.

Technical coverage of Little's residence will materially assist in the investigation of Little and his new organization.

I recommend that authority be granted to install a technical surveillance at the residence of Malcolm K Little, 23-11 97th Street, East Elmhurst, Queens, New York, or at any address to which he may move in the future.

Respectfully, John Edgar Hoover Director

Addendum: Recommendation by Assistant Director

This technical surveillance is in the single family dwelling occupied by Malcolm K. Little, 23011 97th Street, East Elmhurst, Queens, New York. It was first installed on June 3rd, 1964.

Little is a former national official of the Nation of Islam, N O I, who broke with that organization on March 8th, 1964, and formed Muslim Mosque, Incorporated, M M I, which he announced would be a broadly based black nationalist movement for Negroes only. Little has urged Negroes to abandon the doctrine of nonviolence and advocated that Negroes should form rifle clubs to protect their lives and property. At M M I rallies, Little has surrounded himself by guards armed with rifles and there have been numerous incidents recently involving gun-wielding M M I members where violence has been averted only by timely police action. At an M M I rally on June 28th, 1964, Little announced the formation of a new nonwhite civil rights action group called the "Organization of Afro-American Unity" with headquarters at M M I headquarters in New York City the aim of which would be to bring the United States racial problem before the United Nations and which would engage in civil rights demonstrations by using the theme, "by any means necessary."

In the past 30 days this technical surveillance has furnished valuable information on Little's travel plans, on the new Organization of Afro-American Unity, facts concerning the arrest of M M I members in Boston on a weapons charge following an altercation with Boston N O I members and information on a threat to Little's life by a person unknown. It also furnished information that Little was sending an assistant to Phoenix and Los Angeles to contact two women who had illegitimate children by Elijah Muhammad, N O I leader. Public announcement of these children by Little has caused the virtual state of war now existent between the N O I and M M I. On June 30th, 1964, information was received that Little sent telegrams to civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King and James Foreman offering to send his followers to teach self-defense to Negroes if the Government did not provide Federal troops for protection.

All of the above information was furnished immediately to the Bureau and was disseminated to the Department and interested agencies. The Domestic Intelligence Division concurs with the recommendation of the S A C, New York, that this installation be continued for an additional three months.

Addendum: Source furnished the following valuable information on the indicated dates:

June 6th, 1964: Information that Malcolm X was sending an assistant to Phoenix and Los Angeles to contact two women who had illegitimate children by Elijah Muhammad. They planned to publicize this and institute legal action against Muhammad.

June 14th, 1964: Information on the arrest of some of Malcolm's followers in Boston on a weapons charge following an altercation with N O I members there.

June 15th, 1964: Information on a threat to Malcolm's life by an unknown person.

June 22nd, 1964: Information on a new civil rights organization being formed by Malcolm; subsequently determined to be Organization of Afro-American Unity.

June 23rd, 1964: Information on travel plans of Malcolm to go to Washington, D.C. on June 24th, 1964, and be an observer at the N A A C P there.

June 28th, 1964: Details on Malcolm's trip to Omaha, Nebraska on June 30th, 1964, where he was to speak.

June 30th, 1964: Information that Malcolm sent telegrams to civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King and James Foreman offering to send his followers to teach self-defense to Negroes if government does not provide federal troops for protection.

Malcolm Little, Malcolm X. HQ File 27, June, 1964. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

(Teletype to Bureau, Jacksonville and New Orleans, 6/30/64, airtel and LHM 7/1/64)

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