Malcolm X Net Worth at Death – Salary, Income, Wife

Malcolm X Net Worth 

Malcolm X had an estimated net worth of $300 Thousand at death. Malcolm X was an African American civil rights leader prominent in the Nation of Islam. Until his 1965 assassination, he vigorously supported Black nationalism. 

Malcolm X was a clergyman, human rights activist, and prominent black nationalist leader who served as spokesman for the Nation of Islam in the 1950s and 1960s. Largely due to his efforts, the Nation of Islam grew from only 400 members upon his release from prison in 1952 to 40,000 members in 1960.

A gifted orator, Malcolm X urged blacks to free themselves from the shackles of racism “by any means necessary,” including violence. The fiery civil rights leader broke with the Nation of Islam shortly before his assassination in 1965 at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, where he was scheduled to speak.

To calculate the net worth of Malcolm X, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets.

All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Malcolm X
Net Worth: $300 Thousand
Monthly Salary: $10 Thousand
Annual Income: $150 Thousand
Source of Wealth: Writer, Clergyman, Human rights activist

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Early Life and Family

Malcolm X was born in Omaha, Nebraska on May 19, 1925. He was the fourth of eight children born to homemaker Louise and preacher Earl Little, who was also a member of the local chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and a staunch supporter of Black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey.

Earl Little’s civil rights activism drew frequent harassment from white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and one of its splinter factions, the Black Legion. In fact, Malcolm Little was exposed to racism before he was even born.

“When my mother was pregnant with me, she told me later that a party of hooded Ku Klux Klan riders galloped up to our house,” Malcolm recalled later. “They yelled for my father to come out, brandishing shotguns and rifles.”

When Malcolm was four years old, members of the local Klan smashed all of the family’s windows. Earl Little relocated his family from Omaha to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1926, and then to Lansing, Michigan, in 1928, to protect them.

However, the racism the family encountered in Lansing was even worse than it had been in Omaha. A racist mob set fire to the Littles’ house shortly after they moved in, and the town’s all-white emergency responders refused to intervene.

“The white cops and firemen came and stood around watching as the house burned down,” Malcolm X recalled later. Earl Little relocated the family to East Lansing and built a new home for them.

Earl Little’s body was discovered lying across the municipal streetcar tracks two years later, in 1931. Although Malcolm X’s family believed his father was murdered by white supremacists who had repeatedly threatened him with death, the police officially ruled Earl Little’s death a streetcar accident, voiding the large life insurance policy he had purchased to provide for his family in the event of his death.

Malcolm X’s mother never got over the shock and grief of her husband’s death. She was committed to a mental institution in 1937 and remained there for the next 26 years. Malcolm was separated from his siblings and placed in foster care.

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Malcolm was expelled from school and sent to a juvenile detention home in Mason, Michigan, in 1938. He was treated well by the white couple who ran the home, but he wrote in his autobiography that he was treated more like a “pink poodle” or a “pet canary” than a human being.

He went to Mason High School, where he was one of only a few African-American students. He excelled academically and was popular among his peers, who elected him class president.

Malcolm Little’s childhood was transformed in 1939 when his English teacher asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he replied that he wanted to be a lawyer. “One of life’s first needs is for us to be realistic… you need to think of something you can be… why don’t you plan on carpentry?” said his teacher.

Malcolm X dropped out of school the following year, at the age of 15, after being told categorically that there was no point in a Black child pursuing an education.

Malcolm X moved to Boston after dropping out of school to live with his older half-sister, Ella, about whom he later recalled, “She was the first truly proud Black woman I had ever seen. She was clearly proud of her dark skin. This was unheard of among black people back then.”

Malcolm got a job shining shoes at the Roseland Ballroom thanks to Ella. However, once out on the streets of Boston on his own, Malcolm X became acquainted with the city’s criminal underworld and soon began selling drugs.

He got another job as a kitchen helper on the Yankee Clipper train that ran between New York and Boston, and he descended even deeper into a life of drugs and crime. He frequented nightclubs and dance halls in flamboyant pinstriped zoot suits and turned more fully to crime to finance his lavish lifestyle.

Time in Jail

Malcolm X was arrested for larceny in 1946 and sentenced to ten years in prison. He read constantly to pass the time during his incarceration, devouring books from the prison library in an attempt to make up for the years of education he had missed by dropping out of high school.

Several siblings who had joined the Nation of Islam, a small sect of Black Muslims who embraced the ideology of Black nationalism — the idea that in order to secure freedom, justice, and equality, Black Americans needed to establish their own state entirely separate from white Americans — visited Malcolm in prison as well.

Before his release from prison in 1952, he changed his name to Malcolm X and joined the Nation of Islam.

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Nation of Islam

As a free man, Malcolm X traveled to Detroit, Michigan, where he worked with Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad to increase the movement’s following among black Americans nationwide.

Malcolm X became pastor of Temple No. 7 in Harlem and Temple No. 11 in Boston, and also founded new temples in Hartford and Philadelphia. In 1960, he founded a national newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, to further spread the message of the Nation of Islam.

An articulate, passionate, and inspirational speaker, Malcolm X called on blacks to free themselves from the shackles of racism “by any means necessary,” including violence. “There’s no such thing as peaceful revolution. There’s no such thing as a nose-to-the-grindstone revolution,” he said. “There’s no such thing as a nonviolent revolution.

His militant proposals – a violent revolution to establish an independent black nation – earned Malcolm X a large number of supporters, but also many harsh critics. Thanks largely to Malcolm X’s efforts, the Nation of Islam grew from just 400 members upon his release from prison in 1952 to 40,000 members in 1960.

Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

By the early 1960s, Malcolm X had emerged as a leading voice of the civil rights movement’s radicalized wing, offering a dramatic alternative to Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a racially integrated society achieved peacefully.

Dr. King was harshly critical of Malcolm X’s destructive demagoguery. “I believe Malcolm has done himself and our people great harm,” King once said.

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Becoming a Mainstream Sunni Muslim

A split with Elijah Muhammad was far more traumatic. Malcolm X was deeply disillusioned in 1963 when he discovered that his hero and mentor, Muhammad, had violated many of his own teachings, most notably by engaging in numerous extramarital affairs; Muhammad had, in fact, fathered several children out of wedlock.

Malcolm’s feelings of betrayal, combined with Muhammad’s rage over Malcolm’s insensitive comments about John F. Kennedy’s assassination, led Malcolm X to leave the Nation of Islam in 1964.

Malcolm X traveled extensively through North Africa and the Middle East the same year. His journey proved to be a political and spiritual watershed moment in his life. He learned to contextualize the American civil rights movement within a global anti-colonial struggle, embracing socialism and pan-Africanism.

Malcolm X also performed the Hajj, the traditional Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, during which he converted to Islam and changed his name once more, this time to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.

Malcolm X returned to the United States less angry and more optimistic about the prospects for a peaceful resolution to America’s race problems following his epiphany in Mecca. “The true brotherhood I saw influenced me to recognize that anger can blind human vision,” he explained. “America is the first country… capable of having a bloodless revolution.”


Malcolm X was assassinated just as he appeared to be embarking on an ideological transformation that had the potential to dramatically alter the course of the civil rights movement.

Malcolm X delivered a speech at Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965. He had only begun to address the audience when several men stormed the stage and began firing guns.

Malcolm X was struck multiple times at close range and was declared dead after arriving at a nearby hospital. Three Nation of Islam members were tried and sentenced to life in prison for the activist’s murder.

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The Autobiography of Malcolm X

In the early 1960s, Malcolm X began working on an autobiography with renowned author Alex Haley. The book details Malcolm X’s life experiences and his evolving views on racial pride, black nationalism, and Pan-Africanism.

Malcolm X’s autobiography was published in 1965 after his assassination and was praised by nearly everyone. The New York Times called it a “brilliant, painful, important book,” and Time magazine ranked it among the 10 most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century.


Malcolm X has been the subject of numerous films, stage plays, and other works, with actors such as James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, and Mario Van Peebles portraying him.

Spike Lee directed Denzel Washington in the title role of Malcolm X in 1992. Both the film and Washington’s portrayal of Malcolm X were critically acclaimed and nominated for numerous awards, including two Academy Awards.

Wife and Children

Malcolm X married Betty Shabazz in 1958. The couple had six daughters.


Immediately after Malcolm X’s death, commentators largely ignored his recent spiritual and political transformation and criticized him as a violent agitator.

But especially after the publication of Malcolm X’s autobiography, he will be remembered for underscoring the value of a truly free people by showing how far people will go to secure their freedom.

“The power to defend freedom is greater than the power to defend tyranny and oppression,” he said. “Because power, real power, comes from our conviction, which leads to action, to uncompromising action.

Further Reading

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