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Published on Sep 15, 2007
He was revered. He was despised. Some saw him as a guardian of civil rights, a force of empowerment and self-respect for blacks in America. Others branded him a provocateur, a racial supremacist and a menace. His words, incisive and unforgiving had the capacity to unite -- and divide. A split from the Nation of Islam eventually tempered his tone as seen by this appearance on CBC's Front Page Challenge Jan. 5, 1965.
Did you know? - Born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Neb., he eventually dropped his surname and replaced it with X, symbolizing the rejection of his "slave name." He said he chose "X" because, "To take one's 'X' is to take on a certain mystery, a certain possibility of power in the eyes of one's peers and one's enemies...The 'X' announced what you had been and what you had become: ex-smoker, ex-drinker, ex-Christian, ex-slave."