An Overview Of Malcolm Early Years
Malcolm Little was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on the 19th of May, 1925. His father and mother were Earl Little and Louise Helen Little (nee Norton) respectively. His parents had seven children and Malcolm was the fourth of these seven children. Malcolm’s father was a very outspoken person and was secretary to the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Part of his duties as secretary was to send information about the local activities of the association to the Negro World. The Negro World put in efforts to instill the spirit of black pride and self-reliance in their children.
At some point, Earl’s activities as a member of the UNIA were said by some to be “spreading trouble”. When threats from the Ku Klux Klan became increasingly alarming, the family relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1926, and after a short while, they moved again to Lansing, Michigan. At Michigan, there were frequent harassments on the family by a particular white racist group – the Black Legion. In 1929, when the family home got consumed by fire, Earl pointed accusing fingers at the Black Legion.
In 1931, Malcolm’s father died in what was said to have been a streetcar accident. Malcolm’s mother was strongly convinced that the Black Legion was responsible for Earl’s murder. Malcolm was six years old when his father died and the widely circulated rumors of his father being murdered by white racists were very unpleasant to him. After the death of Earl, Louise got involved in disputes with most of her creditors. Some of the insurance policies paid her benefits, while a large policy issuer effused to pay. This company laid claims to the fact that Earl – her husband – had committed suicide. In order to take care of her children, Louise had to rent out a portion of her garden. Also, her male children had to go out to hunt game.
Years after Earl’s death (in 1937 precisely), Louise started dating a man and when she was planning to remarry, this man suddenly vanished from her life. At the time he vanished, she was already pregnant with his child. In 1938, she was consumed by trauma and was admitted by Kalamazoo State Hospital. This caused the government to separate the children and had them all sent to foster homes. About 24, years later, Malcolm, alongside his siblings, secured the release of their mother.
When Malcolm was in Junior high school, his performance was outstanding as he was always ahead of his class. Howbeit, he decided to drop out after one of his white teachers had told him that his aspiration (practicing law) was “no realistic goal for a nigger”.
Between the ages of 14 and 21, Malcolm lived with his half-sister in Roxbury. Roxbury was predominantly an African-American neighborhood in Boston. While he was in Boston, he did various jobs just to sustain himself.
In 1943, Malcolm moved to Harlem in New York City. At Harlem, he got involved in gambling, drug deals, pimping, robbery, and racketeering. According to some biographies that were published in recent times, Malcolm also occasionally engaged in homosexualism, all as a means to make money. He was even said to have befriended John Elroy Sanford, who was also a dishwasher at Jimmy’s Chicken Shack in Harlem. Sanford aspired to be a comedian and was often called “Chicago Red”. After many years, Sanford became popularly known as Redd Foxx.
During World War II, Little was summoned for military service by the local draft board. In a bid to evade this call, he pretended he was mentally disturbed. He mumbled some gibberish that made him be pronounced “mentally disqualified for military service”.
Reading Continues: Malcolm’s Experience In Prison
Towards the end of 1945, Little went back to Boston. There, he, alongside four accomplices looked out for wealthy white families and burgled them. In 1946, he was arrested when he went to pick up a stolen wristwatch that he had left for repair. After his arrest, he was sentenced for breaking and entering, and larceny, and he served time at Charlestown State Prison.