Malcolm X’s father, Earl Little, was a favorite target of the Ku Klux Klan because of his support for civil rights leader Marcus Garvey and because he was a member of the Universal Negro Improvement Association.
“When my mother was pregnant with me, she told me later, a party of hooded Ku Klux Klan riders galloped up to our home in Omaha, Nebraska, one night. Surrounding the house, brandishing their shotguns and rifles, they shouted for my father to come out,” Malcolm X recalled later in his life. “My mother went to the front door and opened it. Standing where they could see her pregnant condition, she told them that she was alone with her three small children, and that my father was away, preaching in Milwaukee.
“The Klansmen warned her that we had better get out of town because ‘the good Christian white people’ were not going to stand for her husband ‘spreading trouble’ among the ‘good’ Negroes of Omaha with the ‘back to Africa’ preachings of Marcus Garvey.”
After the Little family moved to East Lansing, Michigan they were attacked by the Black Legion, a radical off shoot of the KKK.
“Shortly after my youngest sister was born came the nightmare night of 1929, my earliest vivid memory. I remember being suddenly snatched awake into a frightening confusion of pistol shots and shouting and smoke and flames,” Malcolm X later recalled. “My father had shouted and shot at the two white men who had set the fire and were running away. Our home was burning down around us. We were lunging and bumping and tumbling all over each other trying to escape. My mother, with the baby in her arms, just made it into the yard before the house crashed in, showing sparks.”