When Louise Little opened the front door of her home in Omaha, Nebraska, one night in 1925, she found her house surrounded by mounted members of the Ku Klux Klan, wielding shotguns and rifles. The KKK demanded Louise’s husband, Earl, come out of the house.
Louise told the men she was home alone with her three children, and that her husband was out of town. As she spoke, she positioned her body so they could clearly see she was pregnant—although pregnancy did not necessarily mean they would leave her alone.
“Surely she knew that pregnant black women had been lynched before,” said Erik S. McDuffie, a University of Illinois professor of African American studies and history.
That night, the KKK left without harming her, but this incident is evidence of the courage of this remarkable woman, who was not afraid to confront racism head-on, McDuffie said. Equally remarkable, the child she was carrying on the night of this attack would go on to become an icon of the black protest movement.
That child was Malcolm X.