The assassination of Malcolm X: A reappraisal

Malcolm X

When Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965, his assassination was presented as being carried out by members of the Nation of Islam over a feud regarding his departure from the group in March 1964.

It was an open and shut case. The Muslims did it. And it was used to foster division and acrimony between the followers of Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam and Blacks who favored Malcolm X.

Although three members of the Nation of Islam were tried and found guilty for the killing, two of them maintained their innocence.

Thomas Hagan who was the only man to confess to killing Malcolm X testified at thre trial and in subsequent parole hearings that the other two men were innocent.

At his parole hearing prior to release in 2010 Hagan again maintained that the two men, Aziz and Islam, who were convicted with him and released earlier were not the other assassins.

He said it was two other men who helped plot, plan and participate in the killing.

As to the Nation of Islam's role in the assination, Hagan said:
"I can't say that anyone in the Nation of Islam gave us the idea or instructed us to do it. We did this ourselves for the most part."

At the time of his death, Time magazine remembered Malcolm X unsympathetically as "a pimp, a cocaine addict and a thief" and "an unashamed demagogue." 

Malcolm X, born to an African American father and Grenadian born mother, was an uncompromising advocate for black America who instead of advocating integration, unabashedly championed black self-determination and in the face of violent anti-black attacks called for self-defense. 

The FBI kept close tabs on Malcolm's through informants and agents. Even as early as organizing meeting in a private home in Boston in 1954, of a dozen or so people present one was a FBI informant.

"On June 5, 1964, Hoover sent a telegram to the FBI's New York office that simply and plainly instructed, 'Do something about Malcolm X enough of this black violence in NY.'"

"The actions of the police on the day of Malcolm's assassination are particularly noteworthy. Normally up to two dozen police were assigned at Malcolm X's rallies, but on February 21, just a week after his home had been firebombed, not one officer was stationed at the entrance to the Audubon ballroom where the meeting took place. And while two uniformed officers were inside the building, they remained in a smaller room, at a distance from the main event area."

"When the assassins stood up to shoot Malcolm, his security guards stationed at the front of the stage moved not to secure him, but to clear out of the way....

These anomalies, in and of themselves, could have been inconsequential. But combined, even if just by coincidence, they proved to be deadly, and allowed for one of the most prophetic revolutionary voices of the 20th century to be silenced....

Our government especially deserves scrutiny for its covert information gathering, disinformation campaigns, and even violence waged against its own citizens. Fifty years later, we still have more to learn from Malcolm X's life, and his death, and our government's actions toward him."

Summarized from CNN

Read a more in-depth apprasial here