"Red, the Negro shoeshine boy"
Malcolm X
Public DomainMalcolm X - Credit: Herman Hiller

This is a cameo appearance by a young Malcolm X.

Malcolm X (1925-1965) was an American Muslim minister, speaker and activist. He was a deeply controversial figure, admired by some as a courageous advocate of the rights of African-Americans, whilst feared by others as a preacher of racism, black supremacy and violence.

The son of a broken home, he got involved in crime at an early age and turned to the Nation of Islam whilst in prison. He became one of its most high-profile members, but eventually left the group as a result of a rivalry with Elijah Muhammed, another high-profile figure in the organisation. Malcolm then became a Sunni Muslim, made a pilgrimage to Mecca, and renounced racism. He continued to travel extensively throughout the world, and founded a number of religious and secular organisations. He was assassinated by the Nation of Islam in 1965.

In 1941, Malcolm had moved to Boston to live with his older half-sister. He held a number of jobs both legitimate and illegitimate, including as a shoeshine. His nickname at the time was "Red" due to his dark cinnamon-brown hair.