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Malcolm X was a very passionate defender of African Americans' civil rights. He was the leader of the Nation of Islam, a group that believed African Americans should form a separate nation from white Americans. Malcolm believed that African Americans should not be afraid to do whatever it takes to defend their rights, including the use of violence. But after returning from a trip to Mecca, a holy city for Muslims like Malcolm, he changed his beliefs. He said that blacks and whites should try to live together in peace. But Malcolm X did not live long enough to pursue that dream. In 1965, he was killed during a meeting in New York City. Malcolm X remains, though, an important hero for many African Americans.

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