Read the movie description that appears below the movie player on the Malcolm X topic page. Then use the following prompts to encourage class discussion before, during, and after watching the movie.


  • What do you know about Malcolm X?
  • Why do you think someone might have X as a last name?
  • Share what you know about the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

During (Pause Points)

Stop at the following times in the movie and ask questions or prompt a discussion to keep students focused and to assess their understanding before moving on:

  • Timecode 2:18: How did culturally-enforced segregation affect Malcolm X’s life? Would state-enforced segregation have been worse, or not? Explain.
  • Timecode 3:14: Why would black nationalism have seemed like a logical solution to segregation to Malcolm X?
  • Timecode 4:54: What about Malcolm X’s appearance on TV might have created tension between Malcolm and Elijah Muhammad?
  • Timecode 5:25: How did becoming a Sunni lead to a change in Malcolm X’s thinking?


  • In what way was Malcolm X’s life similar to Martin Luther King Jr.’s?
  • Why or why not might the two men have been friends?
  • Malcolm X’s use of television increased the popularity of the Nation of Islam. What type of media do you think would have that Would TV have such a powerful of an effect today?

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments