Malcolm X also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz is as formidable as they come. His work as an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist demanding rights for Blacks earned him foes.
For various reasons, his foes included the Nation of Islam headed by Elijah Mohammad-the organization he renounced, the FBI, the CIA, the New York Police, the Justice Department and some people reckon even the White House.
The known figure during the civil rights movement was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Rev. Earl Little, a Baptist minister and supporter of Marcus Garvey and Louise Little.
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Two things will alter life for little Malcolm in a profound way. The murder of his father when just six and the subsequent detention of his mother at an asylum set a rough course for the brilliant yet unfortunate boy.
Malcolm was told by Blacks in Lansing that his father had been attacked by the white racist Black Legion. Putting his body on the tracks for a streetcar to run over.
His body had been almost cut in two by a streetcar. Earl Little had been an organizer for Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association, the largest black nationalist movement in American history.
“It was then,” Malcolm said in his autobiography, “that my mother had this vision. She had always been a strange woman in this sense, and had always had a strong intuition of things about to happen. And most of her children are the same way, I think. When something is about to happen, I can feel something, sense something.”
Louise Little saw the imminence of his father’s death, on that afternoon in 1931 when her husband Earl left their house and began walking up the road toward East Lansing, Michigan.
His mother had rushed out on the porch screaming. She ran across the yard into the road shouting, “Early! Early!” Earl turned around. He saw her, waved, and kept on going.
That night Malcolm awakened to the sound of his mother’s screaming again. The police were in the living room. They took his mother to the hospital, where his father had already bled to death.
She was then committed to an insane asylum in 1939, Malcolm and his siblings were sent to foster homes or to live with family members.
He spent his teenage years living in a series of foster homes following his father’s death and his mother’s hospitalization. Little engaged in several illicit activities, and was eventually sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1946 for larceny, breaking and entering.
Co-author of Malcolm’s autobiography, Alex Haley noted that Malcolm was conscious, from birth to death, of his coming murder? “Malcolm X saw his own violent death in advance just as clearly as his mother Louise Little saw the imminence of his father’s death.”
Malcolm believed that four of his father’s six brothers were also killed by white men, Harley submitted. “It has always been my belief, that I, too, will die by violence. I have done all that I can to be prepared,” he told Alex Haley.
And for Haley who published the book in 1965, same year the man uniting African efforts on the continent and Africa-American initiates got felled, Malcolm prepared for death by living the truth so deeply that it hastened death.
“To come right down to it,” Malcolm said to Alex Haley, “if I take the kind of things in which I believe, then add to that the kind of temperament that I have, plus the one hundred percent dedication I have to whatever I believe in … These ingredients would make it just about impossible for me to die of old age.”
“Each day I live as if I am already dead … I do not expect to live long enough to read this book in its finished form.”
Malcolm died in Harlem on the same day he had originally intended to visit Alex Haley in upstate New York to read the final manuscript of ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’ which was an instant hit with the black youth of America.
Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City carried out through the collaboration of three circles of power: the Nation of Islam (NOI), the New York Police Department (NYPD), and U.S. intelligence agencies namely NYPD, the FBI and CIA who were in the shadows,, according to James W Douglass.
The works of five authors on Malcolm’s life and assassination show those who wanted him eliminated. Karl Evanzz, Louis Lomax, Prof. Zak A. Kondo, Alex Haley and Malcolm x himself.
The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X and The Messenger: The Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammad, Conspiracys: Unravelling the Assassination of Malcolm X, To Kill a Black Man then The Autobiography of Malcolm X are good reads to digest, according to writer James W Douglass.
Malcolm had served 12 years proclaiming the word of Elijah Muhammad but when he observed certain unsavory acts and voiced them, he became a target and was suspended with the excuse of him being insensitive to Kennedy’s assassination.
“He said to Haley, “I hadn’t hustled in the streets for nothing. I knew when I was being set up.” Malcolm realized the ground was being laid by NOI headquarters to keep him suspended indefinitely. A deeper realization came when one of his Mosque Seven officials began telling the men in the mosque that if they knew what Malcolm had done, they’d kill him themselves. “As any official in the Nation of Islam would instantly have known, any death-talk for me could have been approved of, if not actually initiated, by only one man.” Malcolm knew that Elijah Muhammad, the spiritual father whom he had revered and served for 12 years, had now sanctioned his murder.”
Then came a first death plot. One of Malcolm’s own Mosque Seven officials, Captain Joseph X Gravitts, following higher orders, told an assistant to Malcolm to wire his car to explode when he started the engine. The man refused the assignment, told Malcolm of the plot, and saved his life.
On March 8, 1964, with less than a year to live, Malcolm X announced his departure from the Nation of Islam.
Malcolm X, with his certain knowledge that Fruit of Islam (FOI) teams were being organized to kill him, said sharply in a June 26, 1964, telegram to Elijah Muhammad:
“Students of the Black Muslim Movement, know that no member of the Fruit of Islam will ever initiate an act of violence unless the order is first given by you. … No matter how much you stay in the background and stir others up to do your murderous dirty work, any bloodshed committed by Muslim against Muslim will compel the writers of history to declare you guilty not only of adultery and deceit, but also of Murder.”
Malcolm’s appeal to the 33 OAU Heads of State in Egypt to see the oppression of blacks in America as an attack on them put fear in the American leadership who feared the human rights abuses against blacks in the country would be tabled by Africa leaders and discussed at the United Nations.
Reflecting on these meetings, Malcolm told a friend in London shortly before his death: “Those talks broadened my outlook and made it crystal clear to me that I had to look at the struggle in America’s ghettos against the background of a worldwide struggle of oppressed peoples. That’s why, after every one of my trips abroad, America’s rulers see me as being more and more dangerous. That’s why I feel in my bones the plots to kill me have already been hatched in high places. The triggermen will only be doing what they were paid to do.”