Louise Little

Activist Type
Civil Rights

Louise Little was a trailblazing activist, an important figure in the American Civil Rights Movement, and the mother of Malcolm X. Born in Grenada, she moved to the United States in the early 1920s, where she became involved in social and political activism. Louise was a member of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, a black nationalist organization founded by Marcus Garvey that aimed to promote black pride and self-reliance. She actively advocated for the rights of black people in the United States and worked to challenge the systemic oppression and racism that pervaded society at the time. Despite facing significant challenges and adversity, including the murder of her husband, Louise remained dedicated to her activism and continued to fight for justice and equality. One of Louise’s most significant contributions was the strong sense of pride she instilled in her children about their African heritage. She taught them to embrace their identity and to be proud of their blackness despite living in a society that often denigrated and discriminated against black people. Her teachings significantly shaped Malcolm X’s worldview and his approach to advocating for black empowerment and civil rights. He later credited his mother with giving him a strong foundation of self-respect and self-esteem, which he built upon as he became a prominent leader in the Civil Rights Movement. 

Artwork by
Jonee Kreuz

Portraiture always feels like an exploration and an interpretation, especially when working from a photograph. The process felt like a biographical study, and, inspired by a line from Steven Jones, Sr.'s eulogy, "Eyes that displayed the definiteness of purpose in her character," I imagined the lines radiating out as though from an inner depth, describing her work towards freedom and a better life.


Grenada Flag
St. George's
February 7, 1974
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