February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom. He was a Muslim minister, activist, and key member of the civil rights movement.
Malcolm was a prolific orator, with a charismatic personality. He expressed the anger, frustration, and bitterness of African Americans felt during the civil rights movement. Malcolm was also a major critic of American society.
He also challenged the mainstream civil rights movement ideas of integration and nonviolence. Malcolm argued that more was at stake than the right to sit in a restaurant or even the ability to vote, the most important issues were Black identity and independence.
In stark contrast to Martin Luther King’s strategy of nonviolence and civil disobedience, Malcolm urged his followers to defend themselves “by any means necessary.”
His ideas on Black identity provided the foundations for the Black Power and Black consciousness movements in the United States in the late 1960s and ’70s, that gave rise to the Black Panther Party.
Malcolm is also credited with being a major reason for the Nation of Islam's dramatic increase in membership between the early 1950s till the early 1960s, growing from 500 to almost 75,000 members by the early 60's.