Malcolm X (Malcolm Little, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) Author, narrator, and principal character of the Autobiography.
Reverend Earl Little Malcolm’s father, a Baptist minister and an organizer for the militant Universal Negro Improvement Association.
Louise Little Malcolm’s mother; a proud woman who is finally broken by family misfortunes.
Elijah Muhammad (Elijah Poole, Elijah Karriem) Founder and leader of the Nation of Islam; Malcolm’s teacher and spiritual adviser, later his principal adversary.
Ella (Ella Mae Little Collins) Malcolm’s half-sister (his father’s daughter); his guardian during adolescence, and a lifelong friend and supporter.
Reginald Little Malcolm’s younger brother and closest friend in the family. It was Reginald who first talked to Malcolm about the Nation of Islam.
Betty X (Betty Shabazz) Malcolm’s wife (married in 1958).
Shorty Malcolm’s “homeboy” and close friend in Boston. A would-be musician; later Malcolm’s partner in a burglary ring.
Sammy Malcolm’s closest friend in Harlem; a pimp.
Laura Malcolm’s first love; daughter of a respectable Roxbury family. Jilted by Malcolm for Sophia, she later turned to drugs and prostitution.
Sophia White woman in Boston who had a long-standing affair with Malcolm, although she was married to a white man. Later Malcolm’s partner (along with her sister and Shorty) in a burglary ring.
Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) World heavyweight boxing champion; a Black Muslim and a close friend of Malcolm.
West Indian Archie A Harlem numbers operator; once a friend of Malcolm, but he turned against him when he suspected that Malcolm had cheated him.
Bimbi Fellow convict of Malcolm at Charlestown Prison; taught Malcolm to respect and value education again.
Wallace D. Fard He does not appear in the book, but he was a major influence upon Malcolm through Elijah Muhammad. The “Messenger of Allah,” he first met Elijah Muhammad in Detroit in 1931; taught Elijah Muhammad the doctrines of the new religion and named him his successor. He disappeared in 1934.
Marcus Garvey He does not appear in the book, but he too was a major influence upon Malcolm through his father, Earl Little, who was a follower of Garvey. A Jamaican who claimed pure African ancestry, Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association in 1917, one year after his arrival in America. Part of his program was the formation of a black state in Africa and the repatriation of New World blacks to Africa. He founded a shipping company, the Black Star Line, for the return to Africa; later, he was convicted of fraud in connection with the operation of this business (which was financed by contributions from black people), and was imprisoned in 1925, the year of Malcolm’s birth. In 1927, Garvey was deported and his movement gradually dissolved.
Wilfred Little (Wilfred X) Malcolm’s older brother. A Black Muslim, Wilfred remained in the organization even though Malcolm was ousted.
Philbert Little (Philbert X) Another older brother; also remained with the Muslims and repudiated Malcolm.
The Gohannas and Big Boy A family with whom Malcolm was sent to live by the Welfare Department in 1937.
Earl Malcolm’s half-brother, his father’s eldest son.
Mary Malcolm’s half-sister.
Hilda Malcolm’s older sister; she took charge of the younger children after their father was killed.
Yvonne Malcolm’s younger sister.
Wesley Malcolm’s younger brother.
Robert Malcolm’s youngest brother.
Attilah Malcolm’s eldest daughter, born in November 1958; named after Attila the Hun.
Qubilah Malcolm’s second daughter, born Christmas Day, 1960; named after Qubilah Khan.
Ilyasah Malcolm’s third daughter, born in July 1962; the name is an Arabic version of Elias.
Amiliah Malcolm’s fourth daughter, born in 1964.
Maynard Allen State welfare agent who had charge of Malcolm during his stay in the detention home.
The Swerlins Family in charge of the detention home, with whom Malcolm lived during his stay there (1937-41).
Lucille Lathrop A white cook-helper for the Swerlins.
Mr. Ostrowski Malcolm’s eighth-grade English teacher, who advised him not to overstep racial barriers and attempt to become a lawyer.
Freddie Malcolm’s predecessor as shoeshine boy at the Roseland Ballroom in Boston; Freddie introduced Malcolm to the world of crime.
Ed and Charlie Small Proprietors of Small’s Paradise in Harlem, where Malcolm worked as a waiter.
Hymie Jewish operator of a bootleg ring, for whom Malcolm worked.
John Hughes Owner of a gambling house in Boston.
Turner Black detective in Boston; enemy of Malcolm.
Dr. Mahmoud Shawarbi Saudi Arabian official who approved Malcolm’s visa for his pilgrimage and provided him with further contacts.
Dr. Omar Azzam Egyptian Muslim who helped Malcolm in Jedda, on the way to Mecca.
Dr. Abd-Ir-Rahman Azzam Father of Omar Azzam, an Egyptian United Nations representative. He and his son hosted Malcolm in Jedda and helped him obtain permission to enter Mecca.
Prince Faisal Ruler of Saudi Arabia; made Malcolm a guest of the state.
Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Ruler of Ghana; received Malcolm during his visit to Ghana.