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Name at birth: Malcolm Little

While in prison for burglary, Malcolm Little adopted the Black Muslim faith and became a minister of the Nation of Islam upon his release in 1952. As Malcolm X, he was a charismatic advocate of black separatism who rejected Martin Luther King, Jr.'s policies of non-violence. At first a follower of Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X broke with the Nation of Islam in 1964. That same year he made a pilgrimage to Mecca and shortly afterwards he embraced orthodox Islam and took the name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. He recanted some of his earlier more strident viewpoints on race, though he remained a staunch advocate of "black power." He was shot to death by a group of men while giving a speech in New York City in 1965; some of the men had connections to the Nation of Islam, though a formal tie between that group and the assassination was never proven.

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