Steve Georgiou BORN: July 21, 1947, London, England
My father was a Greek Cypriot and my mother was Swedish, but for some reason they decided to send me to a Roman Catholic school. I suppose that was the first anomaly of my life. Born Steven Demetre Georgiou, I was brought up Greek Orthodox, so didn抰 take part in the religious rituals at school; you could say it meant I started out life as an observer.
My family weren抰 at all strict, but they did want me to have a good moral grounding - hence their reasons for sending me to a Catholic school. I learned about good and bad, and about morality in general, and religion definitely left a strong impression on me. When a friend of mine refused to kneel at prayer because he didn抰 want to spoil the crease in his trousers, it caused a fracture in our friendship. I must only have been about seven at the time!
Ironically, considering I have now converted to Islam (and am now called Yusuf Islam (Bio)), my upbringing was very anti-Muslim. Essentially, the Greeks and Turks were enemies, so I adopted the stance of my Greek Cypriot father and hated everything about the Turks, including their religion: 'Islam', whatever that meant.
There was a Muslim family living near us and, although we never hurled abuse at them or anything like that, we did keep our distance. I grew up in the West End of London. My parents ran a busy restaurant in the upper part of Shaftesbury Avenue and so the atmosphere I was born into was exciting. Life was all lights, hurried people and black taxis. We were close to the theatres and that is definitely where I picked up my interest in the entertainment industry.
I was the youngest of three, and I抦 sure my brother and sister would say I was very spoiled as a result, but I certainly did my fair share of hard work. By the time I was 10, I was already working as a waiter in the shop, clearing away and mopping up, so I suppose that抯 when I first learned how to serve people. Sometimes, I turned the kebabs, but normally things went quite well and, because I was so young, I got lots of tips from the customers.
Being a mixed-race child wasn抰 difficult. The part of London I grew up in was so cosmopolitan that I didn抰 stand out at all. But it was an interesting situation at home. The hot and cold of my parents?different personalities meant I learned to maintain a kind of balance throughout my life. I loved the emotions of my father and the fact that he was so very strong-willed, active and smart. But his temper was sometimes a bit much for some of us. Our mother, on the other hand, was very cool and collected, and always found time to listen.
But I do remember a bit of shouting in our household. I must have been about eight when my parents decided to break up. It was an unusual separation because they both remained in the house. We all lived above the restaurant, with my father taking a first floor room, while my mother took another.
We all shared a single living room but the real centre of activity was the shop, where my parents both continued to work. The only difficulty was the sleeping arrangements. Occasionally, I would become the object of a tug-of-war between them. Because my father usually won, I would end up sleeping in his room most of the time. Strangely, though, I was always closer to my mother.
After they separated, she tried to set up home in Sweden, and I found myself going to school there for about six months. I was the only dark-haired, dark-eyed, olive-skinned boy in the whole blond- haired, blue-eyed school. At play time, I was the centre of attention. I had a section of the playground for myself where all the boys could come to take a look at me. This way, I got to choose who would be my friends that day, but it increased my sense of being an observer.
I was always a sensitive child and tended to look rather closely at life for someone so young. I was quite an introvert and was forever thinking. I can抰 remember a time as a child when I wasn抰 thinking about something. Once, I tried not thinking, while I was on my way to school, but I couldn抰 manage it.
When we returned to my father in London, I found myself always trying to patch up things between my parents. I felt I had to be a bridge between them.
Later, when I became famous, my success was a great source of pride to both of them. In a way, I think that helped to keep us all together. I showed my artistic ability at a very young age, and it was my mum who encouraged me. I would often draw late into the evenings, but instead of telling me to stop and go to bed, she would leave me to get on with it. My interest spread to music, which gave me a way of expressing all those thoughts. We had a grand piano at home, and I soon learned how to play it. Later, I switched to the guitar and started writing songs which I recorded on to a demo tape in a studio just down the road. Once I had changed my name to Cat Stevens (Bio), I was on my way.
I had my first hit when I was 18, with a song called 慖 Love My Dog (Song)? All that fame led to a big change of lifestyle. I was being interviewed, photographed and chased by girls. Although I抎 love to say none of that actually changed me, it did have an effect. Rather than worrying about being too young for this success, I thought I had left it too late, my expectations were so high.
I had grown up in Soho and was pretty streetwise. I suppose I was quite naughty when I was young, trying to see what reaction I would get from my parents. I smoked and went off to art school at 17, and that exposed me to lots of ideas and new customs.
Although I lived life fast, I was always searching for answers. I was aware that there was something I had to achieve in life. At first I thought that if I had luxuries, that would answer all my problems, but it didn抰.
At 19, I contracted tuberculosis and was whisked off to hospital. It was a very scary time - I came face-to-face with my own mortality. It sparked off my first earnest search for a way forward. The thoughts which I developed during that teenage period of illness helped me to reflect on things, and paved the way for the life I now lead as a Muslim.
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel gained fame and notoriety in the 1960's via their aptly-titled duo, Simon & Garfunkel. Over the course of 6 years (1964-1970), the pair made folk-rock a serious art form, expanding upon the paths tread by such luminaries at the Everly Brothers, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton and Peter, Paul and Mary.
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel both grew up in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York City. After becoming friends in middle school, the two started singing doo-wop in various groups. In 1955, the copyrighted their first composition, a song called "The Girl For Me." By 1957, they were local stars (at least amongst the high school crowd), and tried to take their musicianship to the next level and sell songs to the big publishing houses in Manhattan.
As such, they recorded demos. One of these demos - "Hey, Schoolgirl" - attracted the attention of Mr. Sid Prosen, A&R man for Big Records. Simon and Garfunkel soon landed their first record deal and a new stage name - Tom & Jerry. Art was Tom Graph (due to his love of charting songs on large sheets of graph paper), while Paul was Jerry Landis (Landis being the last name of his then-current girlfriend). With solid promotion and radio play in the greater New York City area, "Hey, Schoolgirl" rocketed to number 57 in the Billboard charts. This landed Tom & Jerry a gig on American Bandstand. Paul and Art were soon back in the studio, recording their next big hit.
However, none of the new songs made any dent on the fickle late-50s music scene. When they finished their high school education, Paul and Art went their separate ways, having failed to recapture the fortune of "Hey, Schoolgirl." Art went to college, working on a degree in mathematics and occasionally dabbling in song; Paul spent time working with musicians as a songwriter, musician and occasional producer.
Paul's musical work in the early 1960's was primarily as a contracted songwriter in the famed "Brill Building machine." He would write songs for other artists to record. He did try his hand at performing, however. Assuming a new stage name - Paul Kane - he wrote many ballads and rockabilly tunes which were recorded, both by Paul and as a member of the mildly-successful Tico and the Triumphs. Paul also had a famous collaborator - Carole King (then Carol Kane).
While attending college, Art recorded a few songs for Octavia Records, using the pseudonym Artie Garr. He even wrote some of his own ballads, such as "Private World." However, none of Artie's singles made any impact on the charts.
In 1963, Paul and Art recorded again, this time as Simon & Garfunkel, for CBS Records in New York City. The result of this was Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. The songs performed on this album were a mix of gospel and cover tunes, as well as a few Paul Simon originals - including "The Sound Of Silence." The sound was raw, with no heavy backing of the duo. The record sold rather disappointingly, and the duo split again, with Art returning to Columbia University to continue his study of mathematics.
During this time, Paul traveled to England in order to try and find new songwriting inspiration. While in England, he composed many songs with deep, dark lyrical images, akin to traditional English folk songs. These songs gained popularity in the clubs around England, as Paul embarked on a long and brutal, albeit popular, tour of "one-night-stands" (later referred to in "Homeward Bound"). After catching the eye of Judith Peipe (an older woman who was very supportive of up-and-coming folk artists), Paul soon found himself recording for the BBC as an "inspirational artist." These songs were hastily recorded for Columbia Records (a subsidiary of EMI Records in the U.K.), and The Paul Simon Songbook was released to critical acclaim and modest sales.
While Paul was in England in 1965, producers Tom Wilson and Bob Johnston happened upon an idea: why not take Bob Dylan's new, in-studio backing band and create a more "upbeat" Simon & Garfunkel tune? This formula had worked for Dylan, so it was reasoned that the other New York folk singers could follow suit. "The Sound Of Silence" was picked, and this "new" version charted very well.
Paul soon returned to the U.S., having heard of the great success of the "new" Simon & Garfunkel song. At first, Paul wasn't overly enthusiastic of the "Bob Dylan treatment" given his rather simple folk song. However, Paul has always coveted a hit, and, given the newfound popularity of folk-rock, he didn't want to pass up this opportunity. He and Art reconvened in the Columbia Records studios and recorded 10 new songs, many of which had appeared on Songbook, and Sounds Of Silence was born.
Silence was both a critical and popular success, and Simon & Garfunkel toured the U.S., playing at symphony halls, college demonstrations and everywhere in between. Bob Johnston recorded another album of original songs for the next Simon & Garfunkel album, the moody Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. It was this album which earned the pair a reputation as "pained intellectuals," an image which the pair tried their best to avoid. Although the duo recorded in the studio with a backing band, they still toured as a duo, singing only to the tune of Paul's acoustic guitar.
With PSRT, Art's voice became more prominent in songs, as his work on "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" and "For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her" displayed his phenomenal vocal range. Paul answered with new rhythms, soulful leads on some songs, and intriguing harmony and counterpoint on others. Their fame continued to spread, and Paul was under heavy pressure to compose new songs. In 1967, Mike Nichols asked Paul to contribute some new music for his landmark film, The Graduate. Given very short notice, Paul and Art hastily recorded one new song, an embryonic version of "Mrs. Robinson," plus new versions of "The Sound Of Silence," "The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine," and "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" (Paul withheld many other songs, which were earmarked for a new Simon & Garfunkel studio album). When the film was released later that year, it was a huge success, propelling Nichols, Simon & Garfunkel, Dave Grusin (who composed much of the instrumental music for the film) and Dustin Hoffman into superstardom.
After The Graduate, Simon & Garfunkel were a bona-fide worldwide success. They were also looking for new directions in their music, and a result of this searching was the seamless song cycle of Bookends. Their engineer on PSRT, Roy Halee, was promoted to producer. As producer, he displayed a daring style which complemented the ingenuity of Simon & Garfunkel to a T. The landmark tunes "America" and "Mrs. Robinson" (which was partially rewritten and completely rerecorded) were worldwide hits, and the frank, pained tones of the elderly in the Garfunkel creation, "Voices Of Old People," added a touch of reality to the airy and idyllic sounds which filled the rest of the album. Bookends, arriving hot on the heels of the soundtrack to The Graduate, joined it on the Billboard charts, giving Simon & Garfunkel two simultaneous top-five albums.
The Beginning of the End
By 1969, though, the working relationship between Paul and Art was getting strained. Endless tours had made both Paul and Art road-weary. Art was beginning to dabble in acting, a passion he had been honing since elementary school. When Mike Nichols offered Art one of the leading roles in the film adaptation of Joseph Heller's Catch 22, he jumped at the chance. No role could be found for Paul, due to the adaptation of Heller's book to a more film-friendly script.
Unfortunately, this did not rub well with Paul, who had been working on a paramount album for the pair, Bridge Over Troubled Water. Although some of the album had been recorded prior to Art's departure for Mexico (where the movie was being filmed), Paul was becoming increasingly annoyed with Art's apparent lack of dedication to the group. A tour in 1969, which featured a full backing band, went off without a hitch, and many new songs were premiered, including "The Boxer" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water," a song written by Paul for Art. They also performed for a TV special, but the political overtones of "Cuba Si, Nixon No" were a bit much for the sponsors, so the show never aired.
When Art returned to Mexico, Paul carried on with Bridge. He recorded enough music to fill the rest of the album, including many of the backing vocals and harmonies. When Art returned on breaks from filming, he added backing vocals to some of the tracks. When the album was finally released in 1970 (without "Cuba Si, Nixon No," "Feuilles-O" or "Groundhog," as both Art and CBS had vetoed their inclusion), it was widely heralded as Simon & Garfunkel's masterpiece. The recording industry agreed, bestowing Bridge with the honour of Grammys for the best album and best song of 1970. A small and successful tour followed the release of Bridge, with minimal backing besides Paul's guitar.
The tour only served as a brief respite from the differences which were growing between Paul and Art. While they still shared their love of music, their priorities had changed. A 1972 benefit concert for George McGovern (Democratic presidential candidate) made clear the rift which has developed between Paul and Art. While their performance was not without merit, the two never made eye contact, and their rather sullen expressions told the whole story: Simon and Garfunkel, as a recording and touring duo, were finished.
After the breakup, Art continued to make movies and occasionally dabble in music, while Paul bravely pursued a solo career. Both enjoyed varying levels of success, as their careers took them in similar, yet different, directions.
Art took a break from recording after the completion of the tour for Bridge Over Troubled Water. His recording career resumed in 1973 with the Roy Halee-produced Angel Clare, which featured the hit ballad "All I Know." Art had a number-one hit with his cover of "I Only Have Eyes For You," and he continued to record songs by various songwriters, especially Jimmy Webb. Art's tastes tended to favour ballads, always Art's strong point in the Simon & Garfunkel canon. He also recorded two songs with Paul Simon, including "My Little Town" (a piece from 1975 which appeared on albums by both Paul and Art), and a cover of Sam Cooke's "(What A) Wonderful World," which also featured James Taylor on guitar and vocals.
Paul enjoyed a string of top-10 hits throughout the 1970's, including "Kodachrome," "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" and "Still Crazy After All These Years." His eponymous 1971 album was a sparse break from the lush production of Bridge, and his follow-up albums continued to experiment with new sounds. He toured extensively, and managed to forge a solid and well-respected solo career as one of music's premier singer-songwriters. He also dabbled in film, by writing, producing and directing One-Trick Pony, a story about an unlucky singer-songwriter who tries to stage a comeback in the age of punk and new wave. The film, while it received generally favourable reviews, failed commercially. The soundtrack proved to be one of Paul's strongest recorded collections, featuring the hit "Late In The Evening."
During the late 1970's, Paul and Art mended many of the wounds created by their breakup. After the lack of success of One-Trick Pony (both the album and film did poorly in the marketplace), the two considered a more permanent reunion. The public reception of their heralded free concert in Central Park provided further impetus to try a long-term reunion. This reunion would feature all of the requisite trappings of popular music: a world tour and a new Simon & Garfunkel album. Much work was put into this effort, tentatively titled Think Too Much, and 10 songs were at least partially recorded by late-1981. The material, however, was very much Paul's, as it concerned his personal trials with love and relationships, both with Peggy Harper (his first wife) and Carrie Fisher (his girlfriend at the time, and wife for 8 months in 1983).
Given the personal nature of the material, it was inevitable that artistic differences entered into the equation. Art wanted more time to work on his harmonies, whereas Paul wanted to finish the record and tour. This dichotomy created yet another rift in the partnership between Paul and Art, to the point where he took all of Art's vocals and summarily erased them. The album, after a few more months of work, became Hearts And Bones. While Paul and Art remained friends, their attempt at rediscovering an artistic partnership had fallen short.
Through the 1980's, Paul explored more international rhythms, a passion which he had displayed since his early folk days, when England was his foreign passion. After the critical panning which befell Hearts And Bones (many critics and fans couldn't identify with the deep introspection of the songs), Paul felt more compelled to find new ways to express his ideas.
In 1985, inspired by a bootleg tape of "township jive" music, he traveled to South Africa and fell in love with the sounds of the black ghettos. He became especially fond of the sounds of Ladysmith Black Mombazo, a multi-talented choir. Paul also found many talented musicians in South Africa. He was convinced that this was his next career move, and recorded Graceland for a 1986 release. Reuniting with longtime friends Richard Tee (keyboards), Steve Gadd (drums), and Linda Ronstadt (vocals), Paul enjoyed both critical and commercial success with Graceland, winning "Album of the Year" honours at the 1987 Grammy Awards.
Paul followed this success with a large-scale concert tour, featuring his South African band and Ladysmith Black Mombazo. This was a monumental task, given the many sanctions against South Africa at the time, when Apartheid was the status quo.
Graceland was followed up in 1990 by Rhythm of the Saints, an album inspired by the rhythms of Brazil. In 1900 and 1991, Paul toured with a conglomerate band who consisted of a mixture of South African, Brazilian, and American musicians. This tour ended with two monumental performances: a free concert in Central Park (almost 10 years after the record-breaking Simon & Garfunkel show); and an appearance on "MTV Unplugged."
Meanwhile, Art took time off in the 1980s and early 1990s, only occasionally recording and performing, and playing an occasional film role. Shaken from the suicide of his long-time live-in girlfriend, Laurie Bird, in 1979, he was content to pursue more "personally fulfilling" endeavours, such as walking the length of the U.S.A (an 12-year endeavour which ended in April 1996). He did perform a few charity concerts with Paul, but any hopes for a more long-term reunion were quickly downplayed by both parties. However, in 1992 Art expressed a desire to work with Paul again and sing the old Simon & Garfunkel songs "the way we used to."
Paul and Art did mend their old wounds, though, and in 1993 Art was invited to tour with Paul in a career retrospective. Simon & Garfunkel songs dominated the set, with Art taking the honours when "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was performed. The duo toured until early 1994, after which they split again (amicably) to pursue solo projects.
Where are they now?
In late-1997, Paul put the finishing touches on The Capeman , a musical based on a gangster in 1950's New York City. The score features a great number of doo-wop tunes, hearkening back to the days of "Paul Kane." After many adjustments and critical staff changes, the musical opened in January 1998, only to close in March of the same year. Critics panned its rather haphazard production and dark subject matter, though they praised Simon's music.
Simon recovered from the trials of Broadway with a monumental summer tour in 1999, where he teamed with Bob Dylan for the first time. Each artist played his own set, each of which was joined by a short duet set featuring both men. The tour received critical raves for both Simon and Dylan, although no plans materialized for additional dates.
Paul released his latest album, You're The One, on October 3, 2000. The songs on You're The One build on the styles of Graceland, Rhythm Of The Saints and The Capeman, blending a new, narrative lyric style with a more guitar-oriented sonic tapestry. The album features 11 tracks, and the musicians involved worked with Paul throughout the 1990s. A small tour of Europe took place in October, followed by a short North American tour in November and December. In the summer of 2001, Simon headlined a double-bill tour with Brian Wilson, mastermind of The Beach Boys.
Upon completion of his walk across the U.S. in 1996, Art recorded a new album during a live concert at Ellis Island Across America features songs inspired by his 11-year trek, including many Simon & Garfunkel favourites. He also filmed the concert for a Disney Channel special. The album was released in December 1996.
Art followed this with Songs From A Parent To A Child, an album of fun songs for children and featuring his son, James, in June 1997. Art is currently in the midst of compiling his first "adult" studio album since 1988. The album is due in late 2001. Art continues to tour, and rang in the 2000 new year on a boat bound for Antarctica. This year, Art's tour will take him throughout Japan and the United States.
Paul, Art, Roy Halee and Bob Irwin compiled a new 3CD box set of remastered and rare S&G material, entitled Old Friends, in late 1997. Marking the first proper remastering of the Simon & Garfunkel catalogue, the set features a handful of unreleased and rare studio tracks, as well as live material from the duo's halcyon days.
Individual remasters of the individual albums were released August 21, 2001. Each CD features bonus tracks, most of which have never seen release in any form. A box set - The Columbia Studio Recordings 1964-1970 - features all five albums in a deluxe box, each disc having a mini-LP cardboard sleeve, and the box featuring an expanded-form 72-page booklet with exclusive notes and photos. A double-disc live album, Live At Carnegie Hall, is expected sometime shortly before the 2001 holiday season.
Born on May 6, 1937 in Paterson, New Jersey, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter grew up in a poor area surrounded by crime. Even before he became a teenager, he was in trouble with the law. Arrested for stabbing a man he claimed was trying to molest one of his friends, young Carter was sent to a juvenile detention center.
Carter eventually left detention and began serving in the armed forces. He learned to box. After returning to New Jersey, Carter was again arrested by authorities who maintained that he had not fulfilled his entire sentence. He was returned unceremoniously to prison to serve the remaining 10 months of his term.
Upon his release, Carter began boxing professionally. He amassed a solid record, including a series of knockouts brought on by his furious punching style. A sportswriter gave him the nickname "Hurricane", and it stuck. Carter continued to rise through the middleweight ranks, at one point knocking out the legendary Emile Griffith. He was ready for a shot at the title.
Unfortunately, fate would intervene. On June 17, 1966, three white patrons were gunned down at the Lafayette Bar and Grill in Paterson. Carter and an acquaintence named John Artis were arrested and eventually tried for the killings. Though the state's evidence depended largely on the shaky testimony of two former convicts, Carter and Artis were convicted by an all-white jury of the murders. They were sentenced in 1967 to life behind bars.
Carter refused to behave like other prisoners. This stemed from his belief that he was not a criminal; therefore, he should not be treated like one. He did not eat the prison's food and wear prison garb. He rarely left his cell and concentrated mostly on reading books and writing.
In 1974, he published "The Sixteenth Round", his version of the events that led to his incarceration, as well as a portrait of his life in prison. He gained celebrity from it, and Bob Dylan wrote a song entitled "Hurricane" that chronicled Carter's case and his suffering.
In 1976, Carter was retried after a brief period of being on parole. Both of the earlier key witnesses had changed their stories. Nevertheless, the result was the same. Carter and Artis were returned to prison after a second conviction.
Help would come for Carter from one of the unlikliest of sources. In addition to his attorneys, by the early 1980s he had the help of several young Canadians. The group had been raising a young black kid named Lesra Martin. Martin, learning to read as a teenager, purchased a used copy of Carter's book and read it. He began a correspondence with Carter, enlisting the help of the Canadians to help Carter prove his innocence.
Over several years, the group and Carter's lawyers fought for hearings to show that Carter had been denied a right to a fair trial. Finally, on November 7, 1985, Federal District Judge H. Lee Sarokin freed Carter after Sarokin wrote that the convictions were based on racial prejudices and not facts. Artis had been released on parole 4 years earlier.
Today, Carter works for an organization in Canada that assists those who have been wrongfully accused of crimes. He was recently the subject of a movie starring Denzel Washington. He maintains that he is not bitter from his experiences.
1961 Sep 22 Pike Reed Annapolis, Md W 4 Oct 11 Joey Cooper Reading, Pa KO 2 Oct 24 Frank Nelson Philadelphia, Pa KO 1 Nov 17 Herschel Jacobs Totowa, NJ W 4
1962 Jan 19 Herschel Jacobs Totowa, NJ L 6 Feb 14 Tommy Settles Union City, NJ KO 1 Feb 28 Felix Santiago Union City, NJ KO 1 Mar 16 Jimmy McMillan Jersey City, NJ KO 3 Apr 16 Johnny Tucker New York, NY KO 1 Apr 30 Walter Daniels New York, NY KO 2 May 21 Sugar Boy Nando New York, NY KO 3 Jun 23 Ernie Burford New York, NY L 8 Aug 4 Ernie Burford New York, NY KO 2 Oct 5 Mel Collins Jersey City, NJ KO 5 Oct 27 Florentino Fernandez New York, NY KO 1 Dec 22 Holly Mims New York, NY W 10
1963 Feb 2 Gomeo Brennan New York, NY W 10 Mar 30 Joe Gonzalez New York, NY LK 6 May 25 Georgie Benton New York, NY W 10 Sep 14 Farid Salim Pittsburgh, Pa W 10 Oct 25 Joey Archer New York, NY L 10 Dec 20 Emile Griffith Pittsburgh, Pa KO 1
1964 Feb 28 Jimmy Ellis New York, NY W 10 Jun 24 Clarence James Los Angeles, Ca KO 1 Dec 14 Joey Giardello Philadelphia, Pa L 15 -WBC Middleweight Championship of the World; WBA Middleweight Championship of the World
1965 Feb 12 Luis Rodriguez New York, NY L 10 Feb 22 Fabio Bettini Paris, France KO 10 Mar 9 Harry Scott London, England TK 9 Apr 20 Harry Scott London, England L 10 Apr 30 Johnny Torres Paterson, NJ KO 8 May 20 Dick Tiger New York, NY L 10 Jul 14 Fate Davis Akron, Oh KO 1 Aug 26 Luis Rodriguez Los Angeles, Ca L 10 Sep 18 Joe Ngidi Johannesburg, Trans, SAfr KO 2
1966 Jan 8 Wilbert "Skeeter" McClure Chicago, Il W 10 Jan Johnny Morris Pittsburgh, Pa L 10 Jan 25 Stan Harrington Honolulu, Oahu, Hi L 10 Feb 27 Ernie Burford Johannesburg, Trans, SAfr KO 8 Mar 8 Wilbert "Skeeter" McClure Toledo, Oh D 10 -Due to an error in a scorecard, the Ohio Boxing Commission changed the verdict to a draw Aug 6 Juan "Rocky" Rivero Rosario, Argentina L 10
Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother, Louis Norton Little, was a homemaker occupied with the family's eight children. His father, Earl Little, was an outspoken Baptist minister and avid supporter of Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Earl's civil rights activism prompted death threats from the white supremacist organization Black Legion, forcing the family to relocate twice before Malcolm's fourth birthday. Regardless of the Little's efforts to elude the Legion, in 1929 their Lansing, Michigan home was burned to the ground, and two years later Earl's mutilated body was found lying across the town's trolley tracks. Police ruled both accidents, but the Little's were certain that members of the Black Legion were responsible. Louise had an emotional breakdown several years after the death of her husband and was committed to a mental institution. Her children were split up amongst various foster homes and orphanages.
Malcolm was a smart, focused student and graduated from junior high at the top of his class. However, when a favorite teacher told Malcolm his dream of becoming a lawyer was "no realistic goal for a nigger," Malcolm lost interest in school. He dropped out, spent some time in Boston, Massachusetts working various odd jobs, and then traveled to Harlem, New York where he committed petty crimes. By 1942 Malcolm was coordinating various narcotic, prostitution and gambling rings.
Eventually Malcolm and his buddy, Malcolm "Shorty" Jarvis, moved back to Boston, where they were arrested and convicted on burglary charges in 1946. Malcolm placated himself by using the seven-year prison sentence to further his education. It was during this period of self-enlightenment that Malcolm's brother Reginald visited and discussed his recent conversion to the Muslim religious organization the Nation of Islam. Intrigued, Malcolm studied the teachings of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. Muhammad taught that white society actively worked to keep African-Americans from empowering themselves and achieving political, economic and social success. Among other goals, the Nation of Islam fought for a state of their own, separate from one inhabited by white people. By the time he was paroled in 1952, Malcolm was a devoted follower with the new surname "X." He considered "Little" a slave name and chose the "X" to signify his lost tribal name.
Intelligent and articulate, Malcolm was appointed a minister and national spokesman for the Nation of Islam. Elijah Muhammad also charged him with establishing new mosques in cities such as Detroit, Michigan and Harlem, New York. Malcolm utilized newspaper columns, radio and television to communicate the Nation of Islam's message across the United States. His charisma, drive and conviction attracted an astounding number of new members. Malcolm was largely credited with increasing membership in the Nation of Islam from 500 in 1952 to 30,000 in 1963.
The crowds and controversy surrounding Malcolm made him a media magnet. He was featured in a week-long television special with Mike Wallace in 1959, The Hate That Hate Produced, that explored fundamentals of the Nation of Islam and Malcolm's emergence as one of its most important leaders. After the special, Malcolm was faced with the uncomfortable reality that his fame had eclipsed that of his mentor Elijah Muhammad.
Racial tensions ran increasingly high during the early 1960s. In addition to the media, Malcolm's vivid personality had captured the government's attention. As membership in the Nation of Islam continued to grow, FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) agents infiltrated the organization (one even acted at Malcolm's bodyguard) and secretly placed bugs, wiretaps and cameras surveillance equipment to monitor the group's activities.
Malcolm's faith was dealt a crushing blow at the height of the civil rights movement in 1963. He learned that Elijah Muhammad was secretly having relations with as many as six women in the Nation of Islam, some of which had resulted in children. Since his conversion Malcolm had strictly adhered to the teachings of Muhammad, including remaining celibate until his marriage to Betty Shabazz in 1958. Malcolm refused Muhammad's request to keep the matter quiet. He was deeply hurt by the deception of Muhammad, whom he had considered a prophet, and felt guilty about the masses he had lead into what he now felt was a fraudulent organization.
When Malcolm received criticism after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy for saying, "[Kennedy] never foresaw that the chickens would come home to roost so soon," Muhammad "silenced" him for 90 days. Malcolm suspected he was silenced for another reason. In March 1964 he terminated his relationship with the Nation of Islam and founded the Muslim Mosque, Inc.
That same year, Malcolm went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The trip proved life altering, as Malcolm met "blonde-haired, blued-eyed men I could call my brothers." He returned to the United States with a new outlook on integration. This time, instead of just preaching to African-Americans, he had a message for all races.
Relations between Malcolm and the Nation of Islam had become volatile after he renounced Elijah Muhammad. Informants working in the Nation of Islam warned that Malcolm had been marked for assassination (one man had even been ordered to help plant a bomb in his car). After repeated attempts on his life, Malcolm rarely traveled anywhere without bodyguards. On February 14, 1965 the home where Malcolm, Betty and their four daughters lived in East Elmhurst, New York was firebombed (the family escaped physical injury).
At a speaking engagement in the Manhattan's Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965 three gunmen rushed Malcolm onstage and shot him 15 times at close range. The 39-year-old was pronounced dead on arrival at New York's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Fifteen hundred people attended Malcolm's funeral in Harlem at the Faith Temple Church of God in Christ on February 27, 1965. After the ceremony, friends took the shovels from the gravediggers and buried Malcolm themselves. Later that year, Betty gave birth to their twin daughters.
Malcolm's assassins, Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson were convicted of first-degree murder in March 1966. The three men were all members of the Nation of Islam.
The legacy of Malcolm X has moved through generations as the subject of numerous documentaries, books and movies. A tremendous resurgence of interest occurred in 1992 when director Spike Lee released the acclaimed Malcolm X movie. The film received Oscar nominations for Best Actor (Denzel Washington) and Best Costume Design.
Malcolm X is buried at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.