Civil Rights Activist
Fiery African-American political activist Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in Omaha Nebraska on May 19, 1925. He found his calling while serving a prison sentence: he discovered Islam, jettisoned his surname (Little) and began preaching the philosophy of "black power."
Though he joined the Black Muslim movement, Malcolm X came to embrace more orthodox Islam following a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964. Eventually, Malcolm X abandoned some of his more radical positions, such as racial separatism, and began advocating a new commitment to social reform.
It is believed that his 1965 assassination was orchestrated and carried out by members of the Black Muslim movement with which Malcolm X had been previously associated.