How did Malcolm Little from Michigan become Malcolm X the iconic activist?

"Malcolm contributed a new energy and dedication, a clear-minded outlook, and a deep charisma to the cause, and they proved increasingly irresistible. He brought his prison learning to bear in constructing a historical narrative of white sin and black resistance, his Garveyite perspectives in representing racial destiny and empowerment, and his street wisdom in communicating with his audiences. Tall, lean, handsome, strait-laced, and savvy, Malcolm became the Nation’s most magnetic figure. He helped boost membership from around 1,200 in 1953 to around 6,000 in 1955, and then to as many as 75,000 in 1961. It was nothing short of astonishing, and it put the Nation on the political map of the United States."

- Steve Hahn, If X, Then Why?

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post