Malcolm X marries Betty Sanders
On January 14, 1958, Malcolm X married Betty X (née Sanders) in Lansing, Michigan.
The two had been friends for about a year and—although they had never discussed the subject—Betty X suspected that he was interested in marriage. One day, he called and asked her to marry him.
The couple had six daughters. Their names were Attallah, born in 1958 and named after Attila the Hun; Qubilah, born in 1960 and named after Kublai Khan; Ilyasah, born in 1962 and named after Elijah Muhammad; Gamilah Lumumba, born in 1964 and named after Patrice Lumumba; and twins, Malaak and Malikah, born in 1965 after their father's assassination and named for him.
In 1958 Malcolm married Betty X (née Sanders) in Lansing, Michigan. They had six daughters together, all of whom carried the surname of Shabazz: Attallah (also spelled Attillah), born in 1958; Qubilah, born in 1960; Ilyasah, born in 1962; Gamilah (also spelled Gumilah), born in 1964; and twins, Malaak and Malikah, born after Malcolm's death in 1965.
As Malcolm worked tirelessly for the Nation of Islam, he was increasingly exposed to rumours of Elijah Muhammad's extramarital affairs with young secretaries. Adultery is severely shunned in the teachings of the Nation of Islam. Although this news unsettled Malcolm, he often brushed it aside. But soon he investigated these allegations and saw that they were true, and they were eventually affirmed by Elijah Muhammad himself, who claimed that it was legitimate for him to take on wives as he was the messenger of God. (It should be noted that polygamy, as marriage to more than one but less than four women, and when specifically recognized and accepted under Sharia (Islamic law), is not a transgression in the mainstream Islamic religion. Elijah Muhammad, however, was not married to any of the women with whom he had affairs but ended in having children with each woman.) In fact, Elijah Muhammad asked Malcolm to cover his affairs but Malcolm refused. Despite being unsatisfied with the excuses, and being disenchanted by other ministers using Nation of Islam funds to line their own pockets, Malcolm's faith in Elijah Muhammad did not waver.
The minister had married Betty X (Sanders) in 1958, and in 1962 they were living in East Elmhurst, Queens, with their daughters Attallah, Qubilah, and Ilyasah. Family life gave him the base from which to take his Nation mission to an ever wider world. First the broader black community and then mainstream America took increasing note of the bold message and leadership of the Nation—as did various local and national government intelligence agencies. Malcolm X traveled at a frenetic pace, speaking on college campuses and debating civil rights leaders on radio and television.