Who Was Behind the Death of Malcolm X?

Originally posted on February 13, 2014

Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little in Omaha, NE, was the most intelligent, articulate and passionate black leaders America has seen. His father, Earl Little, was a Baptist pastor, an admirer of Marcus Garvey and the leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Constantly being harassed by the KKK, Earl moved his family (his wife, Louise Gronada-Little, and seven children) from Omaha to Milwaukee and then to Lansing. Earl was believed to had been killed by a white racist group, Black Legion, in Lansing when Malcolm was 6 years old. In 1938, Malcolm’s mother had a nervous breakdown and was sent to Kalamazoo State Hospital. She stayed there for 24 years until her children secured her release. While in the hospital, Malcolm and his siblings were separated and sent to foster homes.

Malcolm was a street hustler, drug dealer and gambler during his early adult years in Boston and Harlem. In 1946, Malcolm was arrested for larceny and breaking and entering. He served 7 years of his 10 year sentence. While in prison, he studied the teachings of the Nation of Islam (NOI) and wrote letters to the group’s leader, Elijah Muhammad.

In August 1952, Malcolm was paroled from prison and visited Elijah Muhammad in Chicago, IL. In June 1953, he was named assistant minister of the Nation’s Temple Number One in Detroit. Later that year he established Boston’s Temple Number 11 in March 1954, he expanded Temple Number 12 in Philadelphia and two months later he was selected to lead Temple Number 7 in Harlem.

Malcolm had a large following. He appeared on national radio and television talk shows, lectured at Ivy League universities and debated noted scholars. Malcolm spoke about the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, the NOI and their belief that the white man is the devil. According to the film, Malcolm X, members of the NOI began to become jealous and envious of Malcolm’s success and popularity.

In 1963, Malcolm discovered that Elijah had repeatedly committed adultery with several of his teenage secretaries and even fathered children with them. This was hypocritical of Elijah because he preached no sex outside of marriage. On March 8, 1964, Malcolm publicly announced his departure from the NOI and stated Elijah’s adultery as the reason. Soon after leaving the NOI, Malcolm started his own religion, Muslim Mosque, Inc, based on orthodox Muslim principles. He received constant death threats.

Although Malcolm had been all around the world lecturing and giving interviews, a trip to Mecca in April, 1964 gave him a spiritual rebirth. Malcolm decided to no longer generalize all white people. He decided “not to sentence anyone who had not been proven guilty.”

On February 21, 1965, Malcolm was shot 21 times in front of his pregnant wife, four daughters and an audience of 400 people. Malcolm was standing at the podium in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem when someone from the audience yelled, “Nigga, get your hand out of my pocket!” to distract security. As soon as Malcolm’s security proceeded to quiet the disturbance, a man in the front row shot Malcolm in the chest with a sawed off shotgun. Two other men ran to the stage and shot Malcolm several times using semi automatic handguns. Three NOI members, Thomas Hagan, Muhammad Abdul Aziz (aka Norman 3X Butler) and Kahlil Islam (aka Thomas 15X Johnson) were convicted and served prison sentences. One week before Malcolm was gunned down, his home was also fire bombed.

Soon after Malcolm’s assassination, conspiracy theories began to circulate. When the public learned about the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program, which was used to disrupt civil rights organizations and leaders in the 1950s and 1960s, some began to suspect that the FBI was involved in Malcolm’s death. It’s reported that the FBI opened a file on Malcolm in 1950 after he wrote a letter to President Truman declaring himself a communist. It’s also reported that the FBI began to surveillance Malcolm in 1953.

Conspiracy theorist and lecturer, Dick Gregory, believes the CIA assassinated Malcolm. During a radio interview with We All Be, he says, “When we got the autopsy, all the bullets in Malcolm were going down, which means the CIA didn’t trust those negroes enough to give them real bullets.” Dick suggests that the CIA had someone shooting from the balcony of the ballroom while the three NOI members shot Malcolm with fake bullets.

There is also a conspiracy theory that members of the NOI were ordered by Elijah Muhammad to kill Malcolm. Two months before Malcolm’s death, Louis Farrakhan (the current leader of the NOI) wrote in an article in the NOI newspaper, The Final Call, that Malcolm was worthy of death. He wrote:

“The dye is set and Malcolm shall not escape. Especially after such evil foolish talk about his benefactor, Elijah Muhammad. In trying to rob him of the divine glory Allah has bestowed upon him, such a man as Malcolm is worthy of death.”

Elijah Muhammad, who died in February 25, 1975, continued to deny having anything to do with the murder of Malcolm X. During a 1993 Saviors Day lecture, Louis said the following about Malcolm’s death that raised even more suspicion about the NOI:

“…It ain’t none of your business! What do you have to say about it? Did you teach Malcolm? Did you make Malcolm? Did you clean up Malcolm? Did you put Malcolm out before the world? Was Malcolm your traitor or was he ours? If we dealt with him like a nation deals with a traitor, what the hell business is it of yours? Stay outta of it because in the future we are going to become a nation and the nation gotta be able to deal with traitors and turn coats. The white man deals with his, the Jews deal with theirs…It’s certain paths you don’t cross.”

On January 12, 1995, Malcolm’s daughter Quibilah Shabazz was arrested for conspiracy to assassinate Louis Farrahkhan. She believed he was responsible for her fathers death. It was revealed that her lover, Michael Fitzpatrick, was a paid FBI informant who framed her. Four months later, the case against Quibilah was dropped.

In June 1997, Malcolm’s wife Betty Shabazz was killed by her 12 year old grandson, Malcolm Shabazz (Malcolm X’s first male heir). Malcolm Shabazz, who lived with Betty, set a hallway in the home on fire. Betty ran through the fire to rescue him, which caused severe burns to over ninety percent of her body. On June 23, 1997, Betty died from her injuries.

During an interview in February 2013, Dick Gregory said that Malcolm Shabazz was set up by the U.S government and did not start the fire. Dick believes young Malcolm Shabazz was forced by the CIA to say he started the fire. Following Dick’s interview, Malcolm sent the following email to We All Be on March 25, 2013 addressing Dick’s allegations:

“Brother Dick Gregory is on point. The only error is that is was Yonkers and not Mt. Vernon.

Well, I never really speak to people outside of select family, but when it first happened I was in the hospital and so the detectives first came to see me and asked me what happened. Mind you, I’m 12 years old. I told them the truth and they told me to not say that. Then they made me write a statement, but told me what to say happened. My lawyer Percy Sulton, who we know to be CIA, told me to never tell truth or I’ll spend the rest of my life in prison, which was probably true…

I don’t know how Dick Gregory knows about the hooded men or what not.

Then I was sent to a program way in the middle of no where in Massachusetts where they would make me say I did all this sh*t I did not do. They told me if I did not own up to my actions I would not get out.

…I’ve been saying it for so long, shit, that’s what it is. I have some very powerful enemies, but I’m still here, though.”

On May 9, 2013 Malcolm Shabazz was murdered in Mexico. Dick has also expressed that he believes Malcolm Shabazz was also murdered by the CIA.

49 years later people are still asking who was behind the assassination of the great brother, Malcolm X?