In late 1961, there were violent confrontations between NOI members and police in South Central Los Angeles, and numerous Muslims were arrested. Just after midnight on April27, 1962, two LAPD officers shoved and beat several Muslims outside Temple Number 27 without provocation.A large crowd of angry Muslims came outside from the mosque. One officer was disarmed by the crowd; his partner was shot in the elbow by a third officer. They raided the mosque and randomly beat NOI members.Police officers shot seven Muslims, including William X Rogers, who was hit in the back and paralyzed for life, and Ronald Stokes, a Korean War veteran, who was shot from behind while raising his hands over his head to surrender, killing him.

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His speeches had a powerful effect on his audiences, who were generally African Americans in northern and western cities.

Many of them‍—‌tired of being told to wait for freedom, justice, equality and respect X to reassess his relationship with the Nation of Islam, and particularly its leader, Elijah Muhammad.

Both men had reddish hair, so Sanford was called "Chicago Red" after his hometown and Little was known as "Detroit Red". Little was declared "mentally disqualified for military service" after he told draft board officials he wanted to be sent down south to "organize them nigger soldiers … At this time, several of his siblings wrote to him about the Nation of Islam, a relatively new religious movement preaching black self-reliance and, ultimately, the return of the African diaspora to Africa, where they would be free from white American and European domination.

After a visit in which Reginald described the group's teachings, including the belief that white people are devils, Little concluded that every relationship he'd had with whites had been tainted by dishonesty, injustice, greed, and hatred.

He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.

His father was killed when he was six and his mother was placed in a mental hospital when he was thirteen, after which he lived in a series of foster homes.In late 1938 she had a nervous breakdown and was committed to Kalamazoo State Hospital.The children were separated and sent to foster homes.X advocated the complete separation of African Americans from whites.He proposed that African Americans should return to Africa and that, in the interim, a separate country for black people in America should be created.Malcolm and his siblings secured her release 24 years later.