While serving a prison sentence, Malcolm X became the most significant black leaders in the 20th century.
After losing his father at an early age, Malcolm X — then known as Malcolm Little — and his five siblings were placed in various foster care when their mother was declared insane and institutionalized.
Malcolm became discouraged at a young age and dropped out of school after the eighth grade. He then went on to spend his teenage years and early 20s "hustling in Boston and Harlem" and "also committing acts of petty larceny," writes Walter Bell in TruTV.
While serving his prison sentence, Malcolm changed his views, converted to Islam and "began to actively preach to the frustrated African-American population about what Islam had to offer."