In honor of Black History Month, we seek to share with you some momentous occurrences for African-Americans in decades past and years remembered.
On this day, February 15th, in black history:
In 1965, the home of Malcolm X was bombed before he was assassinated six days later on February 21 of the same year. Malcolm X, also known as Malik Shabazz, was an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist. Malcolm X led a rough childhood growing up and was sentenced to eight to ten years in prison in 1946. After his release, he joined the Nation of Islam in 1952 and became one of the premier leaders of the group, speaking on the importance of black pride and self-defense. He would later come to heads with Elijah Muhammad, leave the group in March 1964, and become a Sunni Muslim. After a pilgrimage to Mecca, he firmly disavowed racism and traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and Africa. Malcolm X founded the Muslim Mosque Inc. and the Pan-Africanist Organization of Afro-American Unity. He was assassinated while giving a speech in New York City by three members from the Nation of Islam.
In 1964, jazz pianist Nat King Cole passed away. Originally born in Montgomery, Alabama, Cole moved with his family to Chicago, Illinois at the age of four. His father was a Baptist minister and Cole was expected to play the organ during Sunday services. He began formal lessons on the piano when he turned 12. Cole got his start in performing during his teenage years when he would perform at clubs outside of Chicago. His move to Los Angeles would grant him an opportunity to perform in a trio and later begin solo work. Nat King Cole made history on November 5, 1956 when “The Nat King Cole Show” debuted on NBC. He became one of the first African-Americans to host a television variety show.