While in prison, Little met John Bembry who was a self-educated man. Little admired the fact the Bembry commanded a lot of respect with his words. This caused Little to develop an appetite for reading.
While in prison, his siblings told him about the Nation of Islam, via letters. The Nation of Islam was a new religious movement that talked about the self-reliance of the blacks. At first, he was indifferent about it, until in 1948, when his brother Reginald wrote to him asking him not to eat pork or smoke anymore. Then he quit smoking and stopped eating pork. Malcolm, who had been nicknamed “Satan”, because of his hostility to the religion, eventually embraced the teachings of the Nation of Islam.
In 1950 – while he was still in prison – Malcolm wrote a letter to President Truman, where his vehemently opposed the Korean War and declared himself a Communist. This caused the FBI to open a file on him. It was that same year that he started signing his name as “Malcolm X”. In his autobiography, he stated that the “X” in his name was a symbol of his true African family name – which he would never be opportune to know. He claimed that for him, ‘X’ would replace the name ‘Little” which had been imposed on his forefathers by the slave masters.
Malcolm’s Early Years In The Ministry
In 1952, he got parole and after that, he went to Chicago to pay a visit to Elijah Muhammad (Muhammad was the leader of the Nation of Islam). In June 1953, he became the assistant minister of the Nation’s Temple Number One, which was situated in Detroit. In the same year, he founded Boston’s Temple Number 11. In March 1954, he joined an effort to expand Temple Number 12 in Philadelphia. About two months later, Malcolm X was given the mantle of leading Temple Number 7, which was situated in Harlem.
In 1953, the FBI began to keep him under a close watch. Their attention turned from his possible associations with the Communists to his rapid rise through the ranks in the Nation of Islam.
In 1955, Malcolm continued to recruit members into the Nation of Islam and he established several other temples.
The Marriage And family Of Malcolm X
In 1955, a young lady named Betty Sanders met Malcolm after a lecture. She began to attend his lectures regularly until she eventually joined the movement in 1956. Upon joining the movement, she also decided to change her name to Betty X. The Nation taught against one-on-one dated so Betty and Malcolm courted at public events where dozens or sometimes, even hundreds of other people were present. However, Malcolm was sure to always invite her whenever he led group visits to the museums and libraries in New York City.
Back to his early life: A Rummage Into The Iconic Life Of Malcolm X (PART 1)
In January 1958, Malcolm proposed to Betty over the phone and they got married just two days after he proposed. Together, Malcolm and Betty had six daughters.