Who do you think were the major influences in Malcolm X's life that led him to become the leader he was?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that when assessing the role of who inspired Malcolm X to become the leader he was, I believe that one has to immediately gravitate towards the role of the Honorable Elijah Muhammed.  His correspondence and continued sense of guidance to the young Malcolm X helped him understand the full implications of leadership and how to assume such a role in the Nation of Islam.  The correspondence between Malcolm in prison and then when he emerged from it helped to give a sense of purpose and meaning in Malcolm's life and helped to embrace the leadership positions that would help define his professional life and the ideas to which he would cling until the end of his life.  While there was a break between both men, the role that Elijah Muhammed had on Malcolm X in terms of formulating his political, social, and spiritual dimensions was a profound one.  It is this particular element that helped to translate into a leadership role that would end up becoming a staunch one against racism and social, political, and economic discrimination.  In this, I think that Elijah Muhammed's role was a big one, and one that helped to define Malcolm X's leadership stances.

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