Ancestry of Malcolm X

compiled by Christopher Challender Child

The following material on the immediate ancestry of Malcolm X should not be considered either exhaustive or authoritative, but rather as a first draft.

Material based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X: as told to by Alex Haley; Walter Dean Myers, Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary, A Biography (1993); Rodnell P. Collins, Seventh Child: A family memoir of Malcolm X (1998); Russell John Rickford, Betty Shabazz, a biography (2002); Carew, Jan R., Ghosts in our Blood: with Malcolm X in Africa, England, and the Caribbean (1994); Malcolm X's FBI file at; and Abdul Alkalimat's research site

This report is by Christopher Challender Child. The contribution of the undersigned is that of HTML-izing Mr. Child's report.

William Addams Reitwiesner

Ancestry of Malcolm X
1 Malcolm Little, later "Malcolm X, later "El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz", b. Omaha, Nebraska 19 May 1925, d. Harlem, New York 21 Feb. 1965 from gunshots at the Audobon Ballroom
m. Lansing, Michigan Jan. 1958, Betty Jean Sanders, later "Betty Shabazz", later Hajj Bahiyah Betty Shabazz, b. Motor City, Michigan or Pinehurst, Georgia 28 May 1936 (or 1934), d. Bronx, New York 23 June 1997 (from burns caused by a fire set at her Yonkers home reportedly by her grandson, Malcolm Shabazz, son of Quibilah Shabazz, below), illegitimate daughter of Shelman Sandlin [b. Pinehurst, Georgia 1913, d. age 73] and Ollie Mae Sanders. Betty was adopted by Lorenzo Don & Helen (Lowe) Malloy.
    i. Attallah Shabazz, b. 16 Nov. 1958
   ii. Qubilah Shabazz, b. 25 Dec. 1960
  iii. Ilyassah Shabazz, b. Jul. 1962
   iv. Gamilah Lamumbah Shabazz, b. 4 Dec. 1964
    v. Malikah Saban Shabazz, b. Sept. 1965
   vi. Malaak Saban Shabazz, b. Sept. 1965
2 Earl Little, b. Reynolds, Georgia July 1890, d. Lansing, Michigan 28 Sept. 1931
m. Montreal, Quebec, Canada 10 May 1919 (as his second wife, although he never officially divorced his first wife, Daisy Mason)
3 Louise Helen Norton, b. La Digue, St. Andrew, Grenada 1897, d. 1991
4 John Little, b. Georgia Sept. 1859, d. 1942, bur. Reynolds, Georgia
m. ca. 1880
5 Ella Gray, b. Georgia May 1865, d. aft. 1930, bur. Reynolds, Georgia
6 --- Norton, b. England/Scotland
[non-marital liaison]
7 Gertrude Langdon, b. Grenada
8 Tony, b. South Carolina, d. Georgia, sold as a youth to the Allen Little family, initially of South Carolina, and later of Talbot Co., Georgia, given the name "Tony Little" after his emancipation in 1865, bur. "The Panhandle" near Butler, Georgia
9 Clarrie, bur. "The Panhandle" near Butler, Georgia
14 Jupiter Langdon
15 Mary Jane ---
16 Ajar, b. West Africa, brought to South Carolina as a slave in 1815, possibly came from the Bambara people of Mali, the home region where many Africans who ended up enslaved in South Carolina, according to Oscar V. Little.
17 ...


1 -- Those convicted in relation with Malcolm X's death were Thomas Hagan aka Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler, and Thomas 15X Johnson. Only Talmadge Hayer was apprehended at the scene of the crime. All were convicted and given life sentences but all have since been paroled. Butler (Muhammad Abdul Aziz) and Johnson (Khalil Islam) have maintained their innocence and Hayer (Mujahid Abdul Halim) insists the assassins were himself and four other men who were never apprehended.

Some FBI files on Malcolm X refer to him as Malcolm K. Little. As this is never claimed as his middle initial anywhere else, it could be confused from his use of the name "Malcolm X Little." During Malcolm's criminal career he used many aliases including, Jack Carlton, Rhythm Red, and Detroit Red. The first Muslim name Malcolm X used in prison was Malachi Shabazz, but was later told by Elijah Muhammad that he was not yet ready for an "original name" and reverted to Malcolm X. He later used the name Malik El-Shabazz, although in most public appearances remained identified as Malcolm X. After his split from the Nation of Islam (NOI), he made a pilgrimage to Mecca and added El-Hajj to his name, after which he began to use this Arabic name in more public appearances. Shabazz is the so-called "lost tribe" of Asia from whom African-Americans were supposed to descend, based upon the teachings of NOI founder Wallace Fard Muhammad.

Wallace Fard Muhammad was most likely an ex-con named Wallace Dodd Ford (who used many aliases), a New Zealand native who lived briefly in Oregon and California during the 1920's (where he served time in San Quentin for selling heroin and bootleg liquor), and Detroit and Chicago from 1930-1934 where he started the Nation of Islam, before likely returning to New Zealand, after which Elijah Poole, aka Elijah Muhammad, took over as leader. Ford's father was British and his mother was from the Maori tribe of the South Pacific, whose origins are thought to have some Pakistani Islamic influence. Shabazz, and many other names involved in Ford's NOI teachings, are believed to have been derived from geographic areas in the India/Pakistan areas, which W. D. Ford could have borrowed from his mother's culture as he taught his NOI teachings in Detroit. His FBI file is available at: Elijah Muhammad's seventh son, Wallace Delaney Muhammad (Warith Deen Mohammad) (b. 1933), who succeeded his father after his death in 1975 as head of the Nation of Islam and changed most of the tenets of the NOI to be more consistent with traditional Sunni Islam, was named after Wallace D. Ford and reportedly chosen by Ford to be Elijah's successor. After Elijah's son Wallace began to "Islamize" the NOI, Louis Farrakhan started a splinter group which reverted back to much of the teachings of W.D. Ford and Elijah Muhammad, still using the name Nation of Islam, while Wallace's group became known as the American Muslim Society.

2 -- Earl Little was first married in [1909?, still single in 1910 census, prob. ca. 1913] to Daisy Mason, by whom he had three children, Ella (1914), Mary (1915), and Earl, Jr. (1917). After Earl Little left Georgia and remarried, Daisy Mason removed with her children to Everett, Massachusetts. Earl Little, Jr. died in 1941 in Boston of tuberculosis [Mass VRs, 1941:15:293]. Ella (Little) (Oxley) (Johnson) Collins (1914-1996), was Malcolm's half-sister with whom he lived with in Roxbury, Massachusetts during the 1940's and later took over his Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) after his death. Her adopted son Rodnell P. Collins (b. 1945) authored Seventh Child: A family memoir of Malcolm X (1998) and lives today [2005] at the "Malcolm X Residence" on 72 Dale Street in Roxbury, where Malcolm lived as a teenager, and which was declared a Boston historical landmark in 1998. Earl Little was president of several local branches of Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in Omaha, Nebraska; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; East Chicago, Indiana; and Lansing, Michigan.

Earl Little was struck by a street car in Lansing and died. His cause of death was ruled an accident by the coroner and by one of his two life insurance policies, the other life insurance policy ruled it a suicide. The Little family believes he was murdered as a result of UNIA associations.

3 -- Louise (Norton) Little emigrated first to Montreal to live with her uncle Edgerton Langdon in 1917 before coming to the U.S. (via Canada) in 1919 after her marriage to Earl Little. In 1938, Louise Little had a son whose father was not recorded, Robert Langdon Little (31 Aug. 1938-23 Nov. 1999). In 1939, Louise Little was committed to the Michigan State Hospital in Kalamazoo and released 26 years later.

6 -- Although Malcolm X's autobiography refers to his grandfather as a "white rapist," Jan Carew's interviews with his mother's relatives in La Digue indicate that his grandmother's relationship with "that Norton man" was consensual, but that he was not involved after his daughter's birth. Carew also says Louise's father's name is on her birth certificate in Grenada, although he does not provide us with the names of either of her parents.

From Bruce Perry, Malcolm : the life of the man who changed Black America [1991], who interviewed Malcolm's maternal relatives and friends in Grenada: Malcolm's mother's name was originally Louisa. This identifies her father as Scottish, although still does not say his name. It says Louise's mother was Gertrude Langton, who had two other younger illegitimate children and died after giving birth to her last. Gertrude's parents (who raised Louise) were Jupiter and Mary Jane Langdon.


1930 Census, Lansing, Ingham, Michigan

Earl Little, Head, Male, Negro, 39, married, (at 32), b. Georgia; f.b. GA; m.b. GA; laborer, odd jobs
Louise Little, Wife, Female, Negro, 32, married, (at 23), b. Grenada (West Indies); f.b. England; m.b. British West Indies; immigrated 1919; naturalized
Wilfred E. Little, son, male, negro, 10, single, b. Pennsylvania
Hilda F. Little, daughter, female, negro, 8, single, b. Nebraska
Philbert N. Little, son, male, negro, 6, single, b. Nebraska
Malcolm Little, son, male, negro, 4 10/12, single, b. Nebraska
Reginald Little, son, male, negro, 2 8/12, single, b. Wisconsin
Yvonne Little, daughter, female, negro, 8/12, single, b. Michigan


1920 Census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Early Little, male, Black, 30, Married, b. Georgia, f.b. GA; m.b. GA; porter, dept. store
Louise Little, wife, female, Black, 22, married, immigrated 1915, naturalized 1918; b. West Indies, f.b. West Indies; m.b. West Indies; housework, private family


1930 Census, Reynolds, Taylor, Georgia

John Little, head, male, neg., 69, married (at 19), GA, GA, GA, farmer
Ella Little, wife, female, neg., 68, married (at 18), GA, GA, GA
Sara Little, daughter, female, neg., 30, single, GA, GA, GA
Gracie Little, daughter, female, neg., 29, single, GA, GA, GA
Evangel Bell, granddaughter, female, neg., 21, single, GA, GA, GA
Emma Bell, granddaughter, female, neg., 19, single, GA, GA, GA
Mazee Bell, granddaughter, female, neg., 17, single, GA, GA, GA
Albert Bell, grandson, male, neg., 16, single, GA, GA, GA
Waree Bell, granddaughter, female, neg. 14, single, GA, GA, GA
Waife Bell, grandson, female, neg., 12, single, GA, GA, GA
Waine Bell, granddaughter, female, neg., 12, GA, GA, GA
Sally Bell, granddaughter, female, neg., 8, GA, GA, GA
Mary V. Little, granddaughter, female, neg., 13, GA, GA, GA


1920 Census, Carsonville, Taylor, Georgia

John Little, head, male, Black, 60, married, GA, GA, GA, farmer
Ella Little, wife, female, Black, 50, married, GA, GA, GA
Dana W. Little, daughter, female, Black, 25, single, GA, GA, GA
Gracy Little, daughter, female, Black, 23, single, GA, GA, GA
Oscar L. Little, son, male, Black, 16, single, GA, GA, GA


1910 Census, Carsonville, Taylor, Georgia

John Little, head, male, Black, 53, married (30 years), GA, GA, GA, farmer
Ella Little, head, female, Black, 43, married (30 years), 11 ch., 9 al., GA, GA, GA
Earl Little, son, male, Black, 19, single, GA, GA, GA
Sarah H. Little, daughter, female, Black, 17, single, GA, GA, GA
Gracy Little, daughter, female, Black, 14, single, GA, GA, GA
James Little, son, male, Black, 12, single, GA, GA, GA
John Little, Jr., son, male, Black, 10, single, GA, GA, GA
Oscar L. Little, son, male, Black, 7, single, GA, GA, GA


1900 Census, Carsonville, Taylor, Georgia

John Little, head, male, Black, Sept. 1859, 40, married (20 years), GA, GA, GA, farmer
Ella Little, wife, female, Black, May 1865, 35, married (20 years), 10 ch., 8 al., GA, GA, GA
Etta Little, daughter, female, Black, Mar. 1888, 12, single, GA, GA, GA
Emmie Little, daughter, female, Black, Apr. 1887, 13, single, GA, GA, GA
Earley Little, son, male, Black, July 1890, 9, single, GA, GA, GA
Sarah A. Little, daughter, female, Black, Sept. 1892, 7, single, GA, GA, GA
Gracie Little, daughter, female, Black, Nov. 1894, 5, single, GA, GA, GA
James Little, son, male, Black, July 1897, 2, single, GA, GA, GA
Babe Little, son, male, Black, Feb. 1900, 4/12, single, GA, GA, GA


1880 Census, Carsonville, Taylor, Georgia

John Little, Black, Male, 21, Labourer, GA, GA, GA
Ella Little, Black, Female, 19, Housekeeper, GA, GA, GA


1870 Census, Carsonville, Taylor, Georgia

Adam Gray, 38, Male, Black, Farm Hand, GA
Tempy Gray, 40, Female, Black, Keeps House, GA
Frances Gray, 25, Female, Black, Farm Hand, GA
Adam Gray, 22, Female, Black, Farm Hand, GA
Ella Gray, 15, Female, Black, Farm Hand, GA
Handy Gray, 8, Male, Black, at home, GA
Joseph Gray, 6, Male, Black, GA
Andrew Gray, 5, Male, Black, GA
Pinkand Gray, 4, Male, Black, GA
Frances Gray, 3, Female, Black, GA
Dennis Gray, 6/12, Male, Black, GA

[This Ella Gray could be #5 above, although the age is off by ten years]



See above.

William Addams Reitwiesner