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In 1946, 20-year-old Malcolm X was arrested and sentenced to ten years in prison.
It was in prison that Malcolm X learned about the Nation of Islam (NOI) and began writing daily letters to the NOI’s leader, Elijah Muhammad, known as the “Messenger of Allah.” Malcolm X, the name he acquired from the NOI, was released from prison in 1952.
Many members of the NOI believed the message was clear: Malcolm X had to be killed.
During the year after Malcolm X had left the NOI, there had been several assassination attempts on his life, in New York, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Around 1 p.m., he checked out of the hotel and headed for the Audubon Ballroom, where he was to speak at a meeting of his OAAU.
On February 14, 1965, just a week before his assassination, unknown assailants firebombed Malcolm X’s house while he and his family were asleep inside. He parked his blue Oldsmobile nearly 20 blocks away, which seems surprising for someone who was being hunted.
A man had stood up, shouting that a man next to him had tried to pick-pocket him.
The one who did not escape was Talmage “Tommy” Hayer (sometimes called Hagan).
When the viewing was over, Malcolm X’s clothes were changed into the traditional, Islamic, white shroud.The entire nation was mourning the recent death of President John F.Kennedy when Malcolm X publicly made the uncouth remark that JFK’s death was as “chickens coming home to roost.” In response, Muhammad ordered Malcolm X to be suspended from the NOI for 90 days.The die is set, and Malcolm shall not escape, especially after such evil, foolish talk about his benefactor [Elijah Muhammad] in trying to rob him of the divine glory which Allah has bestowed upon him.Such a man as Malcolm is worthy of death, and would have met with death if it had not been for Muhammad’s confidence in Allah for victory over the enemies.
” Malcolm X was put on a stretcher and carried across the street to the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.