Tag: Elijah Muhammad

Tonight’s CNN Special “Witnessed: The Assassination of Malcolm X” Hopes to Answer What Really Happened in Audubon Ballroom

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Almost 50 years ago, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, more popularly known as Malcolm X, who had risen to prominence as one of the most outspoken and public faces of the Nation of Islam, was gunned down inside the Audubon Ballroom in New York. And ever since his death Feb. 21, 1965, there has been speculation as to who had the civil rights leader murdered.

Some have argued that the government was complicit in his death; others have argued his public feud with NOI leader Elijah Muhammad may have led to his assassination. On Tuesday at 9 p.m., CNN premieres Witnessed: The Assassination of Malcolm X, a special report which asks some of those who were there when the shooting occurred—Earl Grant, former radio reporter Gene Simpson, Malcolm X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz and Peter Bailey, an associate of Malcolm’s—to share their memories.

“We failed him, I tried to help him,” photographer and friend Grant cries, when describing the horrifying day inside the Audubon Ballroom, and “describes the chaotic moments after the shooting.” Grant takes viewers inside his private photo collection, sharing never-before-seen images of the civil rights icon.

Zaheer Ali, who served as project manager of the Malcolm X Project at Columbia University, leads an online experience at cnn.com that delves into the unanswered questions surrounding the assassination. Bailey describes Malcolm’s plan to expose injustices against black Americans before he was gunned down, and Simpson, who was in the front row of the Audubon Ballroom when Malcolm took the stage, discusses the first time he interviewed the civil rights leader.

article by Stephen A. Crockett Jr. via theroot.com

Born On This Day in 1925: Muslim Minister and Human Rights Activist El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (aka Malcolm X)

220px-Malcolm_X_NYWTS_2aBorn Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska and known mainly as Malcolm X,  El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz‎ was an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist who rose to national prominence in the 1960s.  To his admirers, he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans. Detractors accused him of preaching racism, black supremacy, and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.

Malcolm X’s father died—killed by white supremacists, it was rumored—when he was young, and at least one of his uncles was lynched. When he was 13, his mother was placed in a mental hospital, and he was placed in a series of foster homes. In 1946, at age 20, he went to prison for breaking and entering.  In prison, Malcolm X became a member of the Nation of Islam; after his parole in 1952, he quickly rose to become one of its leaders. For a dozen years, Malcolm X was the public face of the controversial group, but disillusionment with Nation of Islam head Elijah Muhammad led him to leave the Nation in March 1964.  After a period of travel in Africa and the Middle East, he returned to the United States, where he founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. In February 1965, less than a year after leaving the Nation of Islam, he was assassinated by three members of the group.

Malcolm X’s expressed beliefs changed substantially over time. As a spokesman for the Nation of Islam he taught black supremacy and advocated separation of black and white Americans—in contrast to the civil rights movement’s emphasis on integration. After breaking with the Nation of Islam in 1964—saying of his association with it, “I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I’m sorry for now. I was a zombie then … pointed in a certain direction and told to march”—and becoming a Sunni Muslim, he disavowed racism and expressed willingness to work with civil rights leaders, he continued to emphasize Pan-Africanism, black self-determination, and self-defense.

article via wikipedia.org