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Louis Farrakhan Fast Facts

By CNN Library
updated 1:45 PM EDT, Thu May 8, 2014

(CNN) -- Here's a look at the life of Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam.

Personal:
Birth date: May 11, 1933

Birth place: Bronx, New York

Birth name: Louis Eugene Walcott

Father: Percival Clark

Mother: Sarah Mae (Manning) Clark

Marriage: Betsy (Ross) Walcott (September 12, 1953-present); She has since changed her name to Khadijah Farrakhan.

Children: four sons: Mustapha, Joshua Nasir, Abnar and Louis Jr.; and five daughters: Donna, Hanan, Maria, Fatimah and Khallada

Education: Winston-Salem Teachers College, 1951-1953, did not graduate

Other Facts:
Farrakhan was named for Louis Walcott, the man his mother became involved with after his biological father, Percival Clark, deserted them.

The Walcott family moved from the Bronx to the West Indian section of Roxbury, a Boston neighborhood, in the mid-1930s.

He won a track scholarship to college in North Carolina.

Farrakhan is an accomplished classical violinist who began playing at the age of five. He is also a singer, songwriter, playwright and film producer. Farrakhan wrote two plays, "The Trial" and "Orgena". ("A Negro" spelled backward).

Farrakhan is known for having preached anti-Semitic, anti-white, anti-Catholic and anti-homosexual rhetoric.

Timeline:
1950s - Plays West Indian calypso music on the guitar and ukulele in night spots around the country, under the names The Charmer and Calypso Gene.

1955 - Joins the Nation of Islam (NOI) and adopts the name Louis X.

December 4, 1964 - Condemns rival Malcolm X in the NOI newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, saying "the die is set and Malcolm shall not escape... such a man is worthy of death."

February 21, 1965 - Malcolm X is assassinated. Louis X replaces him as the national spokesman of the Nation of Islam.

Late 1960s - Louis X takes the name Louis Abdul Farrakhan.

1975 - NOI leader Elijah Muhammad dies and his son, Wallace Deen Muhammad, takes over. He and Farrakhan differ on the path of the NOI. Muhammad moves away from the racial separatist teachings of his father to a more conventional and racially inclusive Islam. Muhammad becomes the head of the World Community of al-Islam and Farrakhan becomes head of the NOI.

December 1983 - Accompanies Jesse Jackson and other clergy to Syria to negotiate the release of U.S. Navy pilot Lt. Robert O. Goodman.

1984 - Supports Jesse Jackson's bid for the presidency; threatens the life of Washington Post reporter Milton Coleman for printing Jackson's remark about "Hymietown"; and claims Hitler was a "wickedly great" man.

June 24, 1984 - Claims Judaism is a "gutter religion" and supporters of Israel are criminals in the sight of God.

May 1, 1985 - Announces acceptance of a $5 million interest-free loan from Libyan president Moammar Gadhafi.

June 25, 1986 - Files a lawsuit against President Ronald Reagan, Secretary of State George Schultz, Secretary of Treasury James Baker and Attorney General Edwin Meese claiming the government's travel ban to and economic sanctions against Libya violates Farrakhan's freedom to worship and freedom of speech.

June 3, 1987 - Lawsuit is terminated after a district court judge upholds economic sanctions against Libya and prevents the repayment of the $5 million loan.

1991 - Receives first prostate cancer diagnosis.

October 16, 1995 - Organizes the Million Man March, also known as the Day of Atonement, on the Mall in Washington, DC. NOI claims between 1 and 2 million men gathered to hear 12 hours of speeches on the commitment of black men to take responsibility for improving themselves, their families and communities. The National Park Service estimates between 450,000 and 600,000.

April 1999 - Prostate cancer reoccurrence requires emergency surgery at Howard University.

December 22, 1999 - Preaches a message of racial and religious harmony for all cultures. His new outlook was said to be from the aftereffects of a near-death experience in March resulting from complications with radiation treatments for prostate cancer.

February 25, 2000 - Announces the reunification of NOI with W. Deen Muhammad's more orthodox sect, the Muslim American Society, on the 25th anniversary of the death of Elijah Muhammad.

May 10, 2000 - Appears on "60 Minutes" with Mike Wallace and Malcolm X's daughter, Qubilah Bahiyah Shabazz, and says he regrets that his writing may have influenced others to assassinate Malcolm X. "I may have been complicit in words that I spoke leading up to February 21 [1965] ... I acknowledge that and regret that any word that I have said caused the loss of life of a human being."

May 10-11, 2003 - Establishes the Louis Farrakhan Prostate Cancer Foundation.

October 15, 2005 - Organizes and speaks at the Million More Movement at the Mall in Washington, DC. This time, people of all ethnicities are welcome, as well as the LGBT population.

September 22, 2006 - Releases a letter stating he is giving up many day-to-day duties as leader of the Nation of Islam due to illness, but will remain its leader.

November 2006 - Fails to deliver the keynote address at the 11th anniversary of the Million Man March due to complications from his cancer treatments.

January 6-30, 2007 - Farrakhan undergoes a successful 12-hour surgery to remove his prostate and cancerous colon tissue. He remains in the hospital for five weeks to recuperate.

February 25, 2007 - In what is billed as a farewell speech, Farrakhan calls for peace and unity between all religions of the world.

May 2007 - Unity of Peace speech at St. Sabina's Church commemorates 12th anniversary of the Million Man March.

March 31, 2011 - Speaking from Chicago's Mosque Maryam, the Nation of Islam's international headquarters, defends Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and draws parallels between Gadhafi and President Barack Obama.

October 25, 2011 - During a radio interview, Farrakhan condemns the killing of Gadhafi, his friend for many years.

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