The 44th Anniversary of the Assassination of Malcolm X
On February 21, 1965, Black nationalist leader Malcolm X, who first changed the 'X' to Shabazz, later changing his full name to El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem in New York City. He was gunned down as he stood at the rostrum, preparing to address those gathered to hear him further expound upon his vision for the newly formed organization, the Organization for Afro American Unity (OAAU).
He was murdered as his wife, Betty Shabazz, and his four young daughters, sitting on the front row in the ballroom, watched in horror as gunmen stepped to the front of the ballroom, opening fire. Malcolm had abandoned the practice of security searches that had been standard operating procedure during his time in the Nation of Islam. Shortly after Malcolm fell to the stage, a man later identified to be an F.B.I. asset/operative/informant, is seen kneeling over Malcolm's still body, the man believed to be attempting CPR.
Three months after his return from Hajj in Mecca in March 1964, at the founding rally of the OAAU, also held at the Audubon Ballroom, during his speech to those gathered on June 28, 1964, Malcolm read the "Basic Aims and Objectives of the Organization of Afro American Unity”, less than eight months before he was assassinated. Much has been written, about Malcolm's religious epiphany while on pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, of the men alleged to be in the plot to kill Malcolm X, their ties to the Nation of Islam, with whom Malcolm had had a falling out after criticizing the leader of the Nation of Islam, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Minister Louis Farrakhan's remarks, who, at the time, was the editor of the Nation of Islam's internationally distributed newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, which Minister Farrakhan has admitted, added fuel to growing tensions within the Nation of Islam and the Black community.
Very little has been written about the construct of societal change that was evolving or the events that led up to and included Malcolm X's death. The F.B.I. operative alleged to be giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to Malcolm as he lie bleeding on stage at the Audubon was a player in and part of government infiltration that was used throughout the United States by the F.B.I. to 'monitor' Black organizations in America, as it spied on all domestic organizations engaged in what would have been termed, during the McCarthy Era Senate investigations, 'un-American activities', through the use of a program called the Counterintelligence Program or COINTELPRO.
In the Black community, all Black organizations were targeted under COINTELPRO. Non violent and those considered by the F.B.I. with the potential to be violent, were handled in the same manner, not necessarily because of any evidence of violent tendencies but, based upon the belief, time has revealed, and at the behest of J. Edgar Hoover, with him believing all Black groups may have become violent.
COINTELPRO is said to have been formulated in 1956, the same year that the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Brown v the Board of Education, that resulted in planning to desegregate public schools, as they were deemed not separate and equal. This decision gave rise to the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, for all intent and purpose, a shadow government meant to work to thwart the change on the horizon in America.
The Mississippi commission model was adopted throughout the Southern states in the United States for the same reason which, at that time, was to deny African American citizens democratic rights and dignity. COINTELPRO is claimed to have been terminated in 1972, upon the discovery of its existence during a burglary at an F.B.I. field office however, many of its actions and tactics, later ruled illegal upon its discovery, have now been made legal with the creation and use of the Patriot Act I and the Domestic Security Enhancement Act, better known as Patriot Act II.
COINTELPRO was conceived of to spy on, disrupt, through the use of disinformation techniques and other 'extra normal means', domestic organizations, considered to be dissident organizations. In the Black community, the F.B.I. under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover, was concerned about “.... preventing the rise of a Black Messiah”.
F.B.I. memoranda document Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s status, according to Hoover, as the “ .... most dangerous man in America....”, due to the growing influence of his non-violent movement, fearing that influence if his movement abandoned non violence. Under COINTELPRO, the concern for the Nation of Islam was embodied by Malcolm X. It was concluded that Elijah Muhammad was too old, less a threat than Malcolm, who was considered by the F.B.I., to be a possible successor to lead the organization. At present, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), it states Malcolm X was investigated to “.... verify communist influence”. The FOIA site shows there are 11,674 pages pertaining to Malcolm X, of which 4,065 are available to be viewed, with most to be sealed until a future date. In addition to Malcolm's charisma, the growing following, at the time of his murder in 1965, as he planned to launch a nationalist organization, the OAAU, that would, among other things, petition the United Nations for redress of grievances, on behalf of so called Negroes in the United States, where their status as second class citizens was still the reality in America, stating the so called Negro, or Afro American, must be free “ .... by any means necessary” and the use of COINTELPRO to disrupt Malcolm's fledgling organization, as well as the Nation of Islam, must be part of any discussion that attempts to explore and provide understanding and clarity to the contributions made by El Hajj Malik El Shabazz to the African/African American community, the society at large and his influence throughout the world.
Also at NowPublic: In Memory of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, Formerly Known As Malcolm X
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States