3 FAQs About the Malcolm X Assassination—Answered!

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Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965, while speaking at Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom. His death was quickly chalked up to bad blood between Malcolm and the Nation of Islam (NOI). The truth is anyone’s guess.

Related: The Hidden Hand: The Assassination of Malcolm X

Since the investigation into this assassination left more questions than answers, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to answer some of those questions.

1. How Bad Was the Blood Between Malcolm X and NOI?

Malcolm X cut ties with NOI in 1964, shortly before his death. His decision to leave didn’t come out of the blue. He was deeply uncomfortable with Elijah Muhammad’s infidelity and disheartened by NOI’s inaction against the LA police department’s violent behavior towards Muslims.

The last straw was Malcolm breaking an important NOI policy about not reacting to John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Malcolm did, calling it “the chickens coming home to roost.” He left soon after being silenced from saying anything else about the incident. At the time of his assassination, he was widely seen by many NOI members as a traitor.

2. How Did the Government Treat Malcolm X?

It was rare for civil rights organization members not tobe under 24/7 surveillance by the FBI and law enforcement, and even rarer for these organizations to not have at least one FBI informant within their ranks.

Malcolm was no exception. The FBI started surveilling him in March 1953. Their special infiltration unit, the Bureau of Special Services (BOSS), possibly infiltrated the organizations that Malcolm set up after leaving NOI.

He was widely seen as a threat by law enforcement agencies, as evidenced by the communique by the then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover that read, “do something about Malcolm X.”

FBI building

3. Were There Any Threats Made to Malcolm X?

A week before his assassination, Malcolm X was asleep with his wife and children at his New York City residence when it was firebombed. No charges were made—it’s not like such antics against activists were rare in those days.

It’s not clear whether the ones who made the threat ultimately killed him. However, the incident was nothing if not serious and was sure to have driven home the threat to his life and that of the people near and dear to him. Be that as it may, it didn’t prevent Malcolm from speaking out about the incident.

Uncover the Mystery Surrounding the Malcolm X Assassination

As the convictions of those accused of killing Malcolm X are overturned, join Kennedys and King to uncover the truth behind the incident once and for all. Go through our multimedia to know more than you ever have about the political assassinations of the 1960s, including the unsolved political murders of the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X.

Get in touch to share your thoughts about our cause.

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