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There are multiple YouTube videos and websites dedicated to teaching about Malcolm X to children of all ages.
These websites start with the basics about Malcolm X, such as he was born Malcolm Stuart Little on May 19, 1925 and died on Feb. 21, 1965. One website stated that Malcolm X’s mother was a much lighter skin tone than his father, who was a Baptist minister.
Little (Malcolm X) was imprisoned in 1946 for burglary. It was while he was incarcerated that he discovered the Nation of Islam and converted.
The websites and videos explain that his speeches and actions were inspired by the teachings and beliefs of the Nation of Islam. “He taught that all white people were bad,” according to one website.
Once Malcolm X learned that the leader of the Nation of Islam was in relationships with many women, he converted his religion to Sunni Islam and went on a pilgrimage to Mecca. During this time, “his opinions of white people got better, and he believed that white people could be good people.”
Malcolm X had a firm belief that black people should fight for their civil rights by any means necessary, even violence. Additionally, he believed that the black community should support each other by shopping in stores that were owned by other black people.
The same website stated, “Malcolm X was shot dead in New York City after preaching about black rights. Three members of the Nation of Islam had a part in his murder.”
This is all this website had to tell children about Malcolm X.
Another website had a lot more to offer children who were curious about this activist. It actually says that he was an activist and a minister. There was no mention of his occupation on the first site.
Additionally, this website states that he was born in Omaha, Nebraska and spent most of his childhood in East Lansing, Michigan.
Earl Little, X’s father, was a minister and a leader in and African-American group called the UNIA. The website did not say what UNIA stood for but another site that it stands for Universal Negro Improvement Association. This leadership position caused him to be “picked on by a group called the Ku Klux Klan,” according to one video.
This website said that the Little’s house was burned down by the KKK when Malcolm was only six years old. That same year, his father was found dead on the “tracks of a local streetcar.” The police said the death was an accident, but there are many people then and now, who believe he was murdered, according to the site.
Malcolm’s mother was left to raise her children alone during the Great Depression. At the age of 13, he was sent to live with a foster family. Malcolm dropped out of school at the age of 15 and moved to Boston.
The differences between the websites that were for kids was astounding. Out of curiosity, this author asked her own children what they knew about Malcolm X. The sixth and seventh graders knew nothing, and my 20-year-old knew some. Even my 27-year-old brother said that all he knew was what he learned from the movie.
Schools in this area, at least, are not teaching students ALL of this nation’s history. Why? And if they are not made aware, how can they be free and self-governing?
By Jeanette Smith
Kiddle: Malcolm X
Ducksters: Malcolm X
Featured Image by Ed Ford, World Telegram staff photographer Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons – Creative Commons License
Top Image Courtesy of Paulsasleepwalker’s Flickr Page – Creative Common License