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February 21

 

February 21, 1965

Malcolm X Assassinated in New York City

Malcolm Little converted to Islam and changed his name to Malcolm X while serving a prison sentence. After his release, he joined the radical Nation of Islam led by Elijah Muhammad. A charismatic speaker, Malcolm became an outspoken advocate for black nationalism, rejecting the integrationist arguments of the mainstream civil rights movement. In 1964, he left the Nation of Islam and formed his own organization. During a pilgrimage to Mecca, Malcolm found himself worshipping alongside Muslims of many races and nationalities, and thereafter he eased his advocacy of black separatism.

On this date in 1965, while giving a lecture at the Audubon Ballroom in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, Malcolm X was fatally shot. He was 39 years old. Three men, all identified as members of the Nation of Islam, were convicted in connection with the crime.

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