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Interview with Malcolm X, June 2, 1964

Part of Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project

Interview with Malcolm X, June 2, 1964
Malcolm X; interviewee. Robert Penn Warren; interviewer.
oral histories
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Malcolm X (1925-1965) was born Malcolm Little in Omaha Nebraska. After being found "mentally unfit" to fulfill his draft notice in 1943, Malcolm X was arrested in 1944 for larceny and served four months in prison. In 1945 he was convicted of grand larceny, breaking and entering, and firearms possession and was incarcerated in 1946 until 1952. While in prison Malcolm X converted to Islam and upon his release in 1952 joined the Nation of Islam in Detroit. He soon rejected the surname "Little" and became known as Malcolm X. An exceptional orator and recruiter who promoted black supremacy and was critical of nonviolence tactics in the civil rights movement, Malcolm X's popularity was second only to Elijah Muhammad's. Escalating tension with Elijah Muhammad in 1964 resulted in Malcolm X's departure from the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X then began his own organization called the Muslim Mosque Incorporated. After an international tour that included a pilgrimage to Mecca, Malcolm X became a Sunni Muslim and received a new Islamic name, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabaz. Upon his return to the United States, although faced with significant opposition, Malcolm X continued his orating and began the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). While speaking at an OAAU rally in 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated. Three Nation of Islam members were convicted for his murder. In this interview Malcolm X discusses the connection between Islam and African American identity and describes his own conversion to Islam. He provides his opinions of the white race and the lasting effects of slavery and oppression on both the white race and African Americans. Malcolm X also questions the effectiveness of integration. He explains his belief in violent tactics in the civil rights movement against segregation and racism and criticizes nonviolent tactics. Malcolm X discusses civil rights leadership and provides his opinion of African American politicians and leaders including Adam Clayton Powell, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Reverend Milton Galamison, Whitney Young, Wyatt Walker, and James Baldwin. He also provides his opinion of Presidents Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt as well.
Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
University of Kentucky
X, Malcolm, 1925-1965--Interviews, Islam, Galamison, Milton A. (Milton Arthur), 1923-1988, Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963, King, Martin Luther, Jr. 1929-1968, Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865--Views on slavery, Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865--Views on race relations, Powell, Adam Clayton, 1908-1972, Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945, Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962, Black Muslims, Civil rights movements, African American--Civil rights, Racism, Segregation, Nonviolence, Civil rights leadership, X, Malcolm, 1925-1965--Political and social views, X, Malcolm, 1925-196--Philosophy, Black nationalism--United States, African American leadership, Civil rights--leadership, African Americans--Race identity, African Americans--Religion, United States--Race relations, African Americans--Relations with Africans
Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project
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