One reason for the separation from the nation of Islam was growing tension between Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad because of Malcolm X's dismay about rumors of Muhammad's extramarital affairs with young secretaries, actions that were against the teachings of the Nation. Although at first Malcolm X had ignored the rumors, after speaking with Muhammad's son Wallace and the women making the accusations, he came to believe that they were true. Muhammad confirmed the rumors in 1963 but tried to justify his actions by reference to precedents set by Biblical prophets.
Malcolm X, May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965), born Malcolm Little and also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Arabic: الحاجّ مالك الشباز), was an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist. To his admirers, he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans. Detractors accused him of preaching racism, black supremacy, and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.
Malcolm X's father died—killed by white supremacists, it was rumored—when he was young, and at least one of his uncles was lynched. When he was 13, his mother was placed in a mental hospital, and he was placed in a series of foster homes. In 1946, at age 20, he went to prison for breaking and entering.
Video of Malcolm X Explaining his fathers murder
In prison, Malcolm X became a member of the Nation of Islam; after his parole in 1952, he quickly rose to become one of its leaders. For a dozen years, Malcolm X was the public face of the controversial group, but disillusionment with Nation of Islam head Elijah Muhammad led him to leave the Nation in March 1964. Malcolm X's expressed beliefs changed over time. As a spokesman for the Nation of Islam he taught black supremacy and advocated separation of black and white Americans—in contrast to the civil rights movement's emphasis on integration. After breaking with the Nation of Islam in 1964—saying of his association with it, "I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I'm sorry for now. I was a zombie then ... pointed in a certain direction and told to march"—and becoming a Sunni Muslim, he disavowed racism and expressed willingness to work with civil rights leaders, he continued to emphasize Pan-Africanism, black self-determination, and self-defense.
After a period of travel in Africa and the Middle East, he returned to the United States, where he founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. The Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) was a Pan-Africanist organization founded by Malcolm X in 1964. Malcolm X announced the establishment of the OAAU at a public meeting in New York's Audubon Ballroom on June 28, 1964. He had written the group's charter with John Henrik Clarke, Albert Cleage, Jesse Gray, and Gloria Richardson, among others. The OAAU was modeled on the Organisation of African Unity, which had impressed Malcolm X during his visit to Africa in April and May 1964. The purpose of the OAAU was to fight for the human rights of African Americans and promote cooperation among Africans and people of African descent in the Americas. Malcolm X did not have sufficient time to invest in the OAAU to help it flourish. In a memo dated July 2, 1964, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover described the nascent OAAU as a threat to the national security of the United States.
After his death, Malcolm X's half-sister, Ella Collins, took over the leadership of the OAAU, but dwindling membership and Malcolm X's absence eventually led to the collapse of the organization.
Malcolm X announced the establishment of Muslim Mosque, Inc. on March 12, 1964, four days after his departure from the Nation of Islam. The group's membership consisted primarily of former Nation of Islam members. In a 2003 interview, one of its former leaders recalled that MMI started with a core of about 50 dedicated activists.
Malcolm X spent much of the time between March 1964 and February 1965 overseas. In his absence, James 67X Shabazz served as the de facto leader of Muslim Mosque, Inc.The Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) was a Pan-Africanist organization founded by Malcolm X in 1964.
Between March 1964, when he left the Nation of Islam, and February 1965, when he was assassinated, Malcolm X's philosophy evolved as he traveled through Africa and the Middle East. Those changes confused many members of Muslim Mosque, Inc.
Initially, the teachings of Muslim Mosque, Inc. were similar to those of the Nation of Islam. When Malcolm X became a Sunni Muslim, made the hajj, and wrote to the members of MMI from Mecca about his pilgrimage and how it had forced him to reject the racism that had previously characterized his views of white people, many members could not believe what they were hearing. The Nation of Islam had taught that no white people were permitted in the holy city of Mecca. Some MMI members refused to believe that Malcolm X had become a Sunni, and others thought he was being misquoted when he wrote about white people.
By May 1964, membership in Muslim Mosque, Inc. had grown to 125, and the group was attracting people who were not former Nation of Islam members. Malcolm X sought acceptance of Muslim Mosque, Inc. by mainstream Islamic organizations.In August 1964, the Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs awarded 20 scholarships to permit young MMI members to study at Al-Azhar University tuition-free. Also in August, MMI was admitted to the Islamic Federation of the United States and Canada. The following month the World Islamic League offered 15 scholarships through MMI for study at the Islamic University of Madinah.In February 1965, less than a year after leaving the Nation of Islam, he was assassinated by three members of the group.Following the assassination of Malcolm X in February 1965, Muslim Mosque, Inc. foundered and was disbanded.