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Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska on May 19th, 1925, Malcolm X (later ditched his slave name and picked up X to signify his lost tribal name) was the son of an outspoken Baptist minister with strong beliefs . Having a rough childhood being split up from his family, losing his father to a lynching, constant insults from his white teachers, living in foster homes and being imprisoned at age 20, Malcolm X learned to live on his own and grow to hate the white man. In prison, Malcolm X converted to the Muslim religion, and after being released he joined the Nation of Islam (NOI) . He began to study the teachings of NOI leader Elijah Muhammad which taught that white society actively worked to keep African-Americans from empowering themselves and achieving political, economic and social success . A few years later, he climbed his way to the top to become minister at numerous mosques, was invited to participate in several debates on the radio, television and at universities. After being named one of the most sought after speakers in the ., lead rallies at some of the largest Civil Rights events and forming organizations such as the Organizations of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), Malcolm X became one of the most controversial yet significant leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.