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While in prison Malcolm read widely and developed an interest in the Nation ofIslam a black nationalist religious movement whose members were known as Malcolm studied the teachings of the leader of the Black Muslims ElijahMuhammad who advocated an independent black state The Nation of Islam wasbased on a theology adapted from several models traditional Islamic teachingsMarcus Garveys principles of black nationalism and economic self-help programsthat addressed the needs of African Americans living in urban ghettoes Unlike traditional Islam which rejects all forms of racism the Nation of Islamdeclared that whites were the devil by nature and that God was black Howeverthe Black Muslims predicted that in the near future a great war would take place inwhich whites would be destroyed and black people would rule the world through thebenevolence of Allah their creator To prepare for this new order the Nation ofIslam stressed personal self-restraint opposed the use of drugs and alcohol andorganized economic self-help enterprises that eventually included farms foodstores restaurants and small businesses The Black Muslims recruited heavilyamong the poorest of urban blacks and in prisons where Malcolm Little wasWhen Malcolm was released from prison in 1952 he went to Detroit Michigan andjoined the Nation of Islam temple in that city He dropped his last nameconsidereda slave name by Black Muslimsand became Malcolm X In 1958 he married BettySanders later known as Betty Shabazz and they eventually had six daughtersMalcolm X rose rapidly in the Nation of Islam organization as a minister andrecruiter of new members Elijah Muhammed appointed him as the chief minister ofHarlems main temple in June 1954 Malcolm X also helped establish themovements main information and propaganda newspaper Muhammad SpeaksWithin five years Malcolm X had become a more prominent spokesperson for theNation of Islam than Elijah Muhammad During the decade between 1955 and 1965 while most black leaders worked in the to integrate blacks into mainstream American life Malcolm X preached the oppositeHe maintained that Western culture and the
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