Malcolm X died from assassins’ bullets at New York’s Audubon Ballroom on Feb. 21, 1965.
Who Really Killed Malcolm X?
The daughters of the late Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X have requested that authorities reopen the investigation into their father’s assassination after they received a letter accusing the New York Police Department (NYPD) of conspiring with the FBI in his murder.
In a deathbed letter, former NYPD officer Ray Wood wrote about his job of making sure that Malcolm X’s security team got arrested in the days leading up to his assassination at the Audubon Ballroom in New York in Feb. 1965 by encouraging them to commit petty crimes.
The BBC reported that, “The letter says the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) covered up details of the assassination on 21 February 1965 in Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom, Upper Manhattan, according to Wood’s family and their lawyer.
“Wood alleges that he was tasked with making sure that Malcolm X would have no door security in the building where he was due to speak in public.”
At a press conference on Feb. 20, Wood’s family would not confirm when and how he died.
However, they said that Wood did not want the contents of his letter revealed until after his passing because he feared retribution.
Malcolm X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz said, “Any evidence that provides greater insight into the truth behind that terrible tragedy should be thoroughly investigated.”
Three men eventually got convicted for the assassination of Malcolm X, although two claimed they had nothing to do with the murder.
Talmadge Hayer, one of the convicted assassins, admitted to his role in the assassination and claimed that the other two convicted assassins had nothing to do with the murder.
Furthermore, he said that if the Audubon Ballroom had armed security at the door frisking spectators, they would not have had the opportunity to shoot him as he prepared to give a speech that day.
In a Feb. 14, 2020 article in RegalMag.com, staff writer Hollis Bernard wrote, “For decades, Talmadge Hayer (Thomas Hagan), Norman 3X Butler (Muhammad Aziz) and Thomas 15X Johnson (Khalil Islam) got blamed for the assassination of the former Nation of Islam leader and many left it at that.
“Although many knew of the FBI’s alleged involvement with the assassination, the new Netflix docuseries (‘Who Killed Malcolm X?’) claims that the late William Bradley of Newark, N.J. fired the fatal shot with a sawed off shotgun, not two of the men convicted of the actual assassination…
“As a matter of fact, Butler and Johnson were not even in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, N.Y. the day of the assassination, according to the docuseries.”
Bernard continued, “Butler said that Malcolm X’s followers would have never let him anywhere near the Audubon Ballroom because everyone in New York knew the two had beef…
“Hayer confessed to his role in the assassination but said that Johnson and Norman were totally innocent. He later named four co-conspirators, including Bradley, who participated in the assassination on Feb. 21, 1965.”
The docuseries “Who Killed Malcolm X?” led to a reopening of the case surrounding Malcolm X’s assassination.
The NYPD released a statement that reads, “Several months ago, the Manhattan district attorney initiated a review of the investigation and prosecution that resulted in two convictions for the murder of Malcolm X.
“The NYPD has provided all available records relevant to the case to the district attorney. The department remains committed to assist in any way.”
As of publication of this article, the FBI had not released a statement about the possible involvement of the NYPD in the assassination of the late Black Nationalist leader.
Prior to his assassination, Malcolm X had a very public falling out with the Nation of Islam leader and its leader The Honorable Elijah Muhammad over allegations that Muhammad had fathered children outside of his marriage with teenage girls.
Furthermore, Malcolm X had grown frustrated with the Nation’s refusal to speak out more forcefully on political issues.
In 1963, when Malcolm X called the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy, “chickens coming home to roost,” the Nation suspended him, not allowing him to preach in the mosques or to speak publicly on behalf of the Black Muslims.
As a result of the suspension becoming indefinite, even new heavyweight champion and close friend Muhammad Ali distanced himself from his former mentor.
Malcolm X became the victim of hostile rhetoric coming from his former lieutenants like Louis Farrakhan in “Muhammad Speaks,” the former newspaper for the Nation of Islam.
The Queens, N.Y. home that Malcolm X shared with his pregnant wife Betty Shabazz and their daughters even went up in flames before the Nation ultimately evicted him from the home.
After his suspension from the Nation of Islam became permanent, and after partaking in the Muslim holy pilgrimage to Mecca, Malcolm X’s positions on racial and social issues changed.
Once he had encounters with Muslims with blonde hair and blue eyes, he turned away from the Nation’s depiction of the White man as the devil.
He even allowed White organizations to help his new organizations like Muslim Mosque, Inc. and Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU).
The former Nation of Islam leader even reached out to Coretta Scott King in an attempt to work with the Civil Rights Movement.
However, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. would not allow for collaboration between OAAU and other civil rights groups because Malcolm would not commit to nonviolence.
Previously, Malcolm X had labeled King and his colleagues as Uncle Toms because they wanted to turn the other cheek and integrate with White Americans.
Posthumously, Malcolm X’s legacy could be seen within the Black Panther Party, hip-hop music, fashion, television and films.