33¢ Malcolm X
Black Heritage Series
Issue Date: January 20, 1999
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Banknote Corp. of America
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine die cut 11.4
“You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” The words spoken by controversial black leader Malcolm X stirred a generation of young people dissatisfied with social conditions in the United States.
Born in 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska, Malcolm was the son of preacher Earl Little, a follower of Marcus Garvey. The family broke up after the suspicious death of Malcolm’s father in 1931. He dropped out of school after eighth grade and headed for a life of crime.
Malcolm was sent to jail for burglary at the age of 21. There he met Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam. Muhammad’s teachings had a strong impact on Malcolm, and he became a loyal disciple of the movement. It was during this time that he adopted “X,” symbolic of a stolen identity, as his last name.
Tensions within the Nation of Islam led Malcolm to leave the group in 1964. He traveled to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Islam’s holy city. There he learned that orthodox Muslims preach equality, which led him to abandon his belief that white people are devils. After the pilgrimage, he adopted the name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. In 1965, while speaking at a rally in New York City, Malcolm X was killed by three men, allegedly Black Muslims.