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Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little, was an American Muslim preacher and human rights activist. Little was born in 1925, and as a young man he became interested in boxing. When Malcolm was twelve, he was inspired by the world heavyweight champion Joe Louis, as well as his older brother, and he joined a local amateur boxing league. Because Malcolm was tall, he was able to pass for being several years older and was allowed to join. In his first match, he was paired up against a white boy and lost. Malcolm X felt shame after losing because boxing had become an arena where it was permissible for a black man to be better than a white man at something. In fact, Malcolm expressed that the boxing ring was the only place a Black man could beat up a white man and not be killed. The success of Black boxers inspired Malcolm to be great as well, so when he lost to a white boy, his pride was severely wounded. Malcolm did not literally go into hiding at this time, but he kept a very low profile around his neighborhood to avoid any taunting.