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Born Malcolm Little in 1925, the man the world later know as Malcolm X or even El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, helped spur the growth of Islam and Black nationalism in America in the 1960s thanks largely to his supreme oratorial gifts. The former spokesman for the Nation of Islam, largely considered one of the nation’s most influential black leaders, was an outspoken advocate for Black rights and an opponent against the oppression of his people from White America, even though he himself was half white.

His detractors labeled him as a racist, anti-Semitic black supremacist who preached violence, unlike his counterpart Martin Luther King who preached non-violence during his fight for civil rights. Before rising to national prominence as a preacher and civil rights advocate, Malcolm X was a felon who served prison time for burglary. It was in prison that he converted to Islam and joined the Nation of Islam, a controversial Black muslim organization founded by Elijah Muhammad that taught Black supremacy and separatism. Malcolm X quickly rose through the ranks to become the public face of the group and leader of its Harlem No. 5 mosque.

Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam in 1964 after becoming disillusioned with the group. He founded the Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity after spending time abroad in the Middle East and Africa and discovering a new perspective that challenged his previous views of race. Unfortunately, Malcolm X did not have a chance to spread his new found message because he was assassinated in front of his wife, four daughters and hundreds of audience members during a speech in Harlem in 1965. His shooters were three alleged members of the Nation of Islam.

Top 5 Malcolm X Speeches according to News One

1. By Any Means Necessary

2. Ballot or the Bullet

3. House Negro Vs. The Field Negro

4. Speech on Police Brutality

5. Speech at Oxford University

Disagree with the list? Did we miss one? Let us know what you think in the comments area below.