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More than 50 years after Malcolm X's killing, all sorts of details remain murky


WASHINGTON (CIRCA) -- Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965. Yet, five decades later there are still so many questions surrounding his death.

Was it tied to the FBI? Was it tied to the NYPD? Or was it just a feud with the Nation of Islam that led to his death?

To this day only the FBI holds the answers to information redacted in the 1,000-page unclassified document regarding the circumstances surrounding his death.

For years, many believed his death resulted from an ongoing feud with between himself and the Nation of Islam.

Unredacted portions of the FBI’s file on Malcolm X revealed that for months, agents listened to Malcolm’s phone calls, photographed his comings and goings, and even considered bugging his home. Despite Freedom of Information Act requests throughout the years, New York still will not release records to the public and claim files would endanger the safety of police officers and constitute unwarranted invasions of privacy.

Malcolm X advocated for the urban poor and working-class black America.

It was his challenge to the organized power of the state that appealed to growing numbers of African-Americans, and it was this challenge that also attracted a close following among federal, state and local law enforcement.

The NYPD regularly logged license plates of cars parked outside mosques, organizational meetings, business, and homes. Up to two dozen police were assigned at Malcolm X’s rallies, but on Feb. 21, just a week after his home had been firebombed, not one officer was stationed at the entrance to the Audubon ballroom

After Malcolm was killed, the crime scene was not secured for extensive forensic analysis. Instead, it was cleaned up to allow for a scheduled dance to take place that afternoon, with bullet holes reportedly still in the wall.

The events leading to the death of Malcolm X may have been mutually exclusive, but undeniable. The details have been a source of contention among scholars and historians.

Even 54 years later these questions still remain.


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