YTread Logo
YTread Logo

Witnessed: The Assassination of Malcolm X (2015)

Witnessed: The Assassination of Malcolm X (2015)
the following is a cnn special report it's probably fair to say that few men were more admired and more hated than

malcolm

x to many he was the voice of reason never afraid to speak truth to power never afraid to challenge the white establishment about the cruelty and injustice the black americans faced to many more though his efforts to end it opened more wounds than they healed and no one was more aware of the tension around him and within him than the man himself in 1965 after a very
witnessed the assassination of malcolm x 2015
public split with the nation of islam and its leader elijah muhammad

malcolm

x was under constant threat he was being closely watched by the fbi and cia and he said many times he knew his life would soon be over but neither his fate nor his role in history was preordained

malcolm

x's story isn't just about how it ended but also about who he was and why he was killed i don't worry i'll tell you i'm a man who believed that i died 20 years ago and i live like a man who is dead
already i have no fear whatsoever of anybody or anything i feel as though he knew that his life was in extreme danger

malcolm

is tired physically exhausted he has been on the road he has spent a lot of time trying to hold fast to his closest supporters and loyalists to get them to go along with him on this journey of his evolving ideas on religion on race on revolution on self-determination family is under siege there are these skirmishes between his followers and various people from the nation
of islam he foolishly acts like luke that's right there are these articles being written in the newspaper of the muhammad speaks condemning him as a traitor suggesting that he is worthy of death for his betrayal and he would be met with death if it were not for the mercy of elijah muhammad we were well aware that his life was in danger the media made

malcolm

this fiery angry person when in actuality he was reacting to all of the injustice around him because he was a man of great compassion
of love someone who was clearly brilliant clearly dedicated impeccable integrity and who was in a rush because he knew he was going to be killed he said you know i'm probably a dead man already he felt and saw his mortality he felt like these days ahead of him were going to be cut short is your life in danger from the muslims and elijah muhammad's group well elijah muhammad uh has given the order to his followers to see that i am crippled or killed he is giving out this hearsay
information that he's branded for dead i'm certain that if he was granted to death while he would have gotten deaf long ago instead of having time to run around and talk about it he know that he is guilty of things that many men have been chastised for so his fight against the messenger is in fact a fight against the god that sent the message the night of february 13th

malcolm

in his home in queens with his wife and four children was awakened by an explosion someone had thrown a molotov
cocktail into the windows what really irritated him was that things had descended to the level where somebody was firebombing a house with innocent sleeping children in it if anybody can find where i bomb my house they can put a rifle bullet through my head it was my children in my own life and my wife's life that was at stake it was a stressful time for him and he still decided to press on and so he scheduled a rally before february 21st in 1965. for the first time to me he looked a little
down and i don't ever remember seeing him down before you know even in the most dire circumstances chief could you describe what happened here today at about 3 15 p.m this afternoon there were about 400 persons present in the ballroom here representing the an organization known as the afro-american unity organization headed up by

malcolm

x and

malcolm

was addressing the audience from the speaker's platform and he raised his hand in uh the muslim greeting salaam alaikum like this his
right hand at that point uh rumbling broke out behind us i heard somebody shout kill him apparently two men approached the speaker's restroom and discharged shots at him from apparently very close range as i turned around quickly and the next thing i saw was

malcolm

falling back in a dead faint mother threw herself over her babies and she yelled out there killing my husband i heard shots and i saw people crawling on the floor i saw and so i got down too then when i was looking out and i saw
um someone um looking amazement to the front i knew they had shot my husband he sustained one shot in the lower right chin and the other six hit him in the chest and the body i looked down at him and i said he's going to die i kept saying to myself he's going to die he's going to die how many immediately

malcolm

is dead this is this is nearly bad as uh when you assassinate the president of the united states the

assassination

of

malcolm

x was an unfortunate tragedy and it reveals that
there are still uh numerous people in our nation who have degenerated to the point of expressing dissent through murder and we haven't learned to disagree without being violently disagreeable now for the best they have up there he gave a whole bunch of little boys and they will recover folks an opportunity to be men summer of 1964 j edgar hoover sent a memo to his new york office that explicitly stated quote do something about

malcolm

x we don't know what he meant by that you find a
negro getting drunk he doesn't know the truth you find the negro taking dope he doesn't know the truth you find the negro lying and cheating he doesn't know the truth he's usually imitating the white man negroes get drunk because they see white people get drunk they smoke cigarettes because they see white people smoke cigarettes he was searching for the speaker and he read a lot he's the fastest man ever met in my life they commit fornication and adultery because when they
turn on the television all they see is the white man committing fornication and adulterer so and they want to be like the white man so they copy his immoral social habit

malcolm

little was born into a family of activists his parents earl and louise were active followers of marcus garvey's universal negro improvement association which was an organization that drew on the themes of pan-africanism and black nationalism promoting black pride marcus garvey who said what the world has made being
black a crime i intend to make it a virtue that the world has said black history is a curse that black freedom is a pipe dream that black hope is a joke my father's father papa earl was a young garveyite he was a minister it was during the jim crow ever and he was encouraging african-american communities to be self-reliant to be independent to stand up against uh injustice you know it was during a time when lynchings were prevalent to say the least and so my grandfather was assassinated also
tied to a uh the trolley tracks

malcolm

's mother louise was unable to keep the family together so she had a breakdown social services came and split the family up and sent

malcolm

and his siblings to various foster homes

malcolm

went to a white foster home and attended a predominantly white elementary and secondary school he was popular in school he had charisma even as a child his classmates voted for him to be class president most often he was the only person of color in his school and
when he was i think about 12 years old he did tell his favorite teacher mr ostrowski that he wanted to be a lawyer and mr ostrowski flatly told him that negros can't aspire to be lawyers that he should be a carpenter and use his hands

malcolm

kind of lost interest in school his half-sister in boston tried to get him to visit her so she could kind of get him on track and so

malcolm

went to visit ella in boston and was completely taken by urban culture and was attracted to the hep cat movement
and jazz and the dancing and the clothes and the fashion and he gradually adopted this persona that became known as detroit red and as detroit read

malcolm

drifted further away from the garvey roots of his family and to you know petty crime he was a gangster he was a hustler and so those early years did expose him to some of the darker precincts of the black condition

malcolm

hatched a plan to engage in a series of breaking and enterings

malcolm

made the error of taking some of the merchandise
to a pawn shop when he went back to retrieve the watch it was a watch the police were there to arrest him while

malcolm

is in prison his family intervenes his family had not given up on him his brother began preaching to him and i think preach really a stridently to

malcolm

you know well we have found these teachings of islam they remind us of what our parents taught us in terms of black people need to do for self need to support their own institutions need to be morally upright elijah muhammad
witnessed the assassination of malcolm x 2015
almost became like a surrogate father to him and he truly believed in the work that elijah muhammad was doing and it was very similar to the work that his father was doing i think allah for you were always willing to go anywhere that i go i was in prison i was a very wayward criminal backward illiterate uneducated and whatever other negative uh characteristics you can think of type of person until i heard the teachings of the honorable elijah muhammad and because of the impact that it had upon
me in giving me a desire to reform myself and rehabilitate myself for the first time in my life and also being able to see the effect that it had upon others this is what made me accept it it was the love of elijah muhammad in that cell in norfolk that transformed him from

malcolm

little the gangster until

malcolm

x the greatest truth teller that we've known about the black condition in the 20th century prior to hearing what he teaches i had no interest whatsoever in anything serious or any
kind of educational pursuits when

malcolm

came out of prison in 1952 he you know met elijah muhammad elijah muhammad invited him to stay with him so

malcolm

studied with him for a period of time there was something about

malcolm

some people just have this kind of magnetism when they walk into a room everyone starts focusing on them so

malcolm

just had this kind of charisma he knew how to talk to people he could speak to him in a way that made things very clear it was easy to believe is what he
was saying because i was living it every day america was in the middle of the so-called civil rights movement if you're going to talk about him you have to understand that very clearly there are people being literally murdered hung from trees in the southern states of this country there was terrorism going on shot arrested that's the only way you can describe it terrorism people were being killed bombed out of their homes having dogs sick on them if a dog is biting a black man the black
man should kill the dog when that black man is doing nothing but trying to take advantage of what the government says is supposed to be his then that black man should kill that dog or any two-legged dog who sticks the dog on

malcolm

x did something that was very rare in the history of black leadership every mention of the word integration by whites he viewed white fears insecurities and anxieties as an afterthought whether it be from the mouth of kennedy most black leaders have to deal with
white fears insecurities and anxieties in order to get about on down to the mouth of the lowest raggediest white liberal in the street

malcolm

viewed white fears insecurities and anxieties as tertiary what was at the center was black suffering what was at the center was the need for black awakening we believe that separation is the best way and the only sensible way not integration that pits him radically against the mainstream in white america

malcolm

could speak in a way that resonated with
people in those settings there is nothing that the white man will ever do to bring about uh true sincere citizenship or civil rights recognition for black people in this country nothing will they ever do they will always talk it but they won't practice what is your real name

malcolm

malcolm

x uh is that your legal name as far as i'm concerned it's my legal name they were just not used to a black man speaking the way he did have you been to court to establish i don't i didn't
have to go to court to be called murphy or jones or smith a group of negro dissenters is taking to street corner step ladders church pulpits sports arenas and ballroom platforms across the united states to preach a gospel of hate that would set off a federal investigation if it were preached by southern whites i referred to the popular belief that the muslims preach a hatred for the white race you do not subscribe to this no i've never heard the honorable elijah muhammad teach or preach
hatred for anyone he preaches hatred against evil

malcolm

was a lightning rod because he was articulating and giving voice to an alternative political strategy we are for separation not not segregation for many white people there's something what they call an uppity black man that's a black man who does not accept the position that they have decided that he should have in this country segregation as we're taught by the honorable elijah muhammad is that which is forced upon inferiors
by superiors to them brother

malcolm

was an uppity black man and uh and they despised him for it separation is done voluntarily by two equals he taught us to hate ourselves one of his favorite subjects we were talking about how what we knew of the history of the world was incorrect who taught you to heat the color of your skin to such extent that you bleach to get like the white man who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips who taught you to hate yourself from the
top of your head to the soles of your feet who taught you to hate your own kind who taught you to hate the race that you belong to i began to follow him i began to listen i began to read books that he said i began to understand and believe in and he gave me a perception on how to view this country it seemed to me been preaching hate to meet hate uh i don't advocate any kind of hate he absolutely believed in the nation of islam he thought that that was one organization that would help to get
black people back on their feet down below brothers and sisters someday the negro is going to wake up and try and do unto whites as the whites have done unto us but it also puts him against the mainstream in black america that's why he he had so much trouble with most of the black leaders of this day martin luther king teaches negroes to love all white people no matter what they do to you in the same white swan he teaches negroes to love stick dogs on him uh sick dogs on their children dogs
on their women and dogs on their babies so that when he looks at america he looks at the record whereas most of the white mainstream and black mainstream leadership in the 40s and 50s look at america full of promise and possibility

malcolm

x is exactly the opposite king's talking about a dream in 63.

malcolm

's talking about a nightmare it means that no matter what the negro does he is not going to get along with white so i think that mr muhammad's whole philosophy is more intelligent
than mr king's he was not someone who would hold his tongue in criticizing the preacher class right the black religious leadership today's gathering is the largest in washington's history he was very critical of established black leaders in the van is martin luther king and of their strategies and so many people shied away from him because of that

malcolm

was very critical and dismissive at the time when people were somewhat celebratory at the success of the march on washington later
mr king and the other leaders are to go to the white house where the president said that everyone must be impressed with the demonstration of the throngs faith and confidence in our democratic form of government

malcolm

came as an observer and he called it the farce on washington an event that had been co-opted by the government that had been co-opted by labor that leaders of the civil rights movement had been essentially bought off i think the support reflects a desire on the part of our people
in this country to try a new approach a new analysis a new method a new approach to get a solution now not 10 years from now but martin's response to mark was very much like many of our response to

malcolm

which was here is somebody who was saying in public what black people often said in private just how ugly and how vicious and how barbaric the treatment of black people had been we're also taught that at any time anyone in any way inflicts or seeks to inflict balance upon us we are
within our religious rights to retaliate in self-defense to the maximum degree of our ability as

malcolm

became popular these are parents that have been put in front of the negro community in a public outside of the nation of islam this increased tensions by any means necessary inside the nation of islam try a new approach people in the media began identifying him as the leader or as a leader as the heir apparent this was threatening to a full range of people in the nation of islam who maybe
witnessed the assassination of malcolm x 2015
wanted to be the heir apparent a theological space was widening between

malcolm

and elijah you know

malcolm

wherever he spoke muslims would come up to him and say no this is not islam what you're teaching is not islam islam does not see race islam is colorblind the way that you view elijah muhammad as a prophetic figure is counter to to islam and the name of allah is madison and then another piece of this of course was

malcolm

finding out about elijah muhammad's domestic life leave us a
long time when

malcolm

found out that elijah muhammad had fathered these children outside of his marriage to clara many of these women were women who had worked for elijah muhammad in some capacity as a secretary or or other way

malcolm

did have a blind faith in the honorable elijah muhammad who is so fundamentally loved him rescued him from the muck and from the mud and that blind faith was shattered and he went into emotional shock this was the straw that that broke the camel's back so to
speak in terms of

malcolm

's faith in elijah muhammad as a model as a moral leader his rendezvous with grim destiny begins a little afternoon time death is less than one short hour away on november 22nd 1963 something is terribly wrong john f kennedy was assassinated and the first unconfirmed report say the president was hit in the head from dallas texas the flash apparently official president kennedy died at 1pm central standard time 2 o'clock eastern standard time as

malcolm

felt
himself growing estranged from elijah muhammad and from the nation of islam

malcolm

and the muslims in new york had planned a major event the president's body is met by accordion of servicemen elijah muhammad was scheduled to speak after kennedy's

assassination

elijah is like no i'm not doing any public speaking i'm canceling that event and the ministers in the nation of islam were instructed to not comment on kennedy's

assassination

malcolm

gave the speech he did not comment
on the

assassination

wales you see it was very clear that elijah muhammad always wanted to steer clear of any confrontation when

malcolm

opened up to question and answer the reporter asked him what his thoughts were on kennedy's

assassination

and

malcolm

you know he gave this really thoughtful response about violence he said when you have a climate of hate you're going to get back hate so if we're putting out so much hate and we're teaching our children uh and our nation to hate
then you're going to get all of that back he said this is a case of chickens coming home to roost he was and minister

malcolm

has been suspended from public speaking for the time being so when he attacked the u.s nation state in the form of you've got violence in your history has now come back visited on your young darling john f kennedy that was the worst thing that he could have said from elijah pointing while this was happening cassius clay was training for his upcoming championship
fight with sunny liston cassius clay had been exposed to the nation of islam he invited

malcolm

to come to miami for a vacation he like he knew like

malcolm

was on this period of style he said bring your family my father was his mentor his spiritual guide cassius wins the fight

malcolm

makes a few statements to the press so he kind of violates his silence i've been following for the past 90 days because of some statements i made confronting the president of the united states uh which were
distorted they were destroyed and yes what did you say about this well i said the same thing that everybody says that uh his

assassination

was the result of the climate of hate only only i said the chickens came home the roof and which means the same thing but you did you did not say that you were glad the president was killed no that's what the press said a couple days later would have been savior's day which was the nation of islam's annual convention

malcolm

thought he would you
know be allowed to come to savior's day and maybe speak and this would be the period of reconciliation he thought i have cassius clay he's ready to join publicly he just won the world heavyweight championship the world is looking at him cassius clay is invited to savior's day if i was a muslim and if it wasn't for elijah muhammad where he's given a prominent you know place in the program this is a golden muslim mosque that was presented to me by the islamic council of all
egypt isn't invited

malcolm

isn't asked to speak he pretty much feels shut out he would say over and over again any religion that does not allow me to be in power to speak and work on behalf of the freedom of black people i'll let that religion go and basically you know said you know i'm about to leave the nation of islam this of course was met with great anger and resentment by many in the nation of islam muslims have excommunicated

malcolm

x and we're done with him unless
he wants to come back into line with the teachings and the moral principles of islam and a follower of the honorable elijah muhammad you know when i found out he was out i knew something was wrong so i called him up the next day and then he came over and we spent the whole day talking we decided we knew they wouldn't let him back we said we have to set up an organization to do what we can for black folks while all this is happening

malcolm

is in need of a re-centering of himself spiritually
politically and he decided to make the pilgrimage to mecca well he had seen it before there was something about 64 where he was seen the same thing he was just seeing it through different eyes he had already seen black and white people could come together he just was still tied to a blind faith in elijah so he didn't allow it to penetrate his soul he realized how much of islam he didn't know ritually the actual experience of the ritual was overwhelming and transformative since i went to
mecca and uh reported that the religion of islam is a religion of brotherhood which includes all mankind it caused a great deal of wrath in the heart and mind of elijah muhammad who has been teaching that the white race is a race of devils the tensions at home are amping up with the nation of islam in part because of some of

malcolm

's words right and the the attention he's receiving from law enforcement from the fbi domestically from the cia internationally is also increasing but he also
knows that the nation of islam is very upset with him why are they threatening your life well uh primarily because they're afraid that i will tell the real reason that they've been that i'm out of the black muslim movement which i never told i kept to myself but the real real reason is that elijah mohammed the head of the movement is the father of eight children by six different teenage girls different uh six different teenage girls who were his private personal secretary we formed a
group known as the organization of afro-american unity it's non-religious number one any negro can belong to it and the objective of that organization is to bring about a condition that will guarantee respect and recognition of the 22 million black americans as human beings this is very laudable but how well by any means necessary it was incredibly high pressure time for

malcolm

as

malcolm

's mind was expanding as his world view was expanding the space that he was occupying was shrinking
valentine's day a molotov cocktail is thrown into the nursery of our home my parents home where my father's four babies slept and my mother of course was pregnant with the twins i became frightened for him in this family because this was the first time that i can recall that that was a direct attack not only on him but on his family if you attack me that's one thing i know what to do when you start attacking me but when you attack sleeping babies while you are lower than a gun
that's actually where that picture of my father with the rifle came from he couldn't get protection and he said if i can't get anyone to protect me as a citizen that i have a rifle and i will protect my family it was a stressful time for him and he still decided to press on and so he scheduled a rally for february 21st in 1965. he was going to give the formal unfolding of the oaau platform and plan of action when he arrived near the autobahn he parked his car about two blocks away
didn't let us know he was arriving and he walked up broadway to the autobar he just made himself a perfect target and he knew better he saw me and he said brother peter when you get a chance come backstage i want to talk to you i went out and checked my equipment make sure i finish my setup tape the microphones up and all that then i came back in he said he wanted me to go and make a phone call he said do any of you know what reverend milton glamison looked like and i said i do so he said to
me he said well go out go out front and when he comes in bring him backstage so i said okay he knew what i actually did in and recording but he insisted that i go make this telephone call and i tried to explain to her i have to get the stuff set up he just stopped and looked right at me and said brother i want you to go and make the phone call i sat in the front row i think i was third from the aisle he insisted i get out of there to go out complete out of the building where the telephone booth
was and while i was in the booth he stepped out there i heard brother

malcolm

say assalamu alaikum somebody shouted get your hand out of my pocket very loud and then a little bit of a tussle and

malcolm

responded by holding a hand up something like hold on hold on there brothers while i was in the telephone booth i heard the shots i ran into the to the audubon ballroom and people were running out by this time and they were screaming and crying and cursing my mother put her body on top of us she
covered her babies because there was all the shooting i don't know how many shooters are in there i mean this is while the smell of gunsmoke is still in the air i'm crawling to a phone my mind is focused on doing my job i am at the audubon ballroom pandemonium is the only word that i can use to describe the scene here i was sitting in the first row when

malcolm

came on the stage and greeted the audience with his traditional salaam alaikum a muslim greeting as soon as he said that several
persons have happened so quickly i can't describe them bit up and fired shots you can see a crowd over

malcolm

up on the stage where i ran down the left-hand side of the building up on the stage i still had my camera with me and i kept right on shooting pictures someone had opened his shirt and i saw all these bullet holes in his body and i remember thinking to myself you know he's going to die because he was gasping i wish it never happened it was this saddest moment of my life because
we found it trying to help i started talking everybody i could to have them reiterate from their perspective what had just happened and what they thought about it i heard the shots i ran for it i saw

malcolm

hole inside and hold his stomach and fell down how do you feel now i want to kill somebody that's right i want to kill somebody before the night's over if

malcolm

dies somebody gonna die well it was a certain uh noise and then um the two fellas one was a black muslim and i don't
know who the other one was i didn't see him ran and started shooting and everybody fell to the floor yesterday yes sir they were black muslims was that recognized he was saving my life but had he not sent me out i would have been standing by the tape recorder with my back to the audience when they started shooting i'd have been shot in the back then the brothers had gone and bogarted a a stretcher from columbia press student hospital which is right across the street they just took a
stretcher they put him on the stretcher and rolled it out back over to the hospital the only person that was caught at the scene was tallmadge hair i believe if pair had not been shot in the leg and had not been beaten up by those who loved my father that he would not have ever been arrested that he would have gone free just like the rest of the real killers were the evidence points to the fact that hair was the only person convicted for

malcolm

x's

assassination

that had a part in it

malcolm

uh is the victim of his own preaching he preached wallace and so you become the victim of it norman butler and thomas johnson hayer initially identified them as co-conspirators he later would recant his testimony they weren't apprehended at the scene there's no physical evidence that connected them to the

assassination

it was all circumstantial no one remembered seeing them there clearly he posed a threat to the government to pose a threat to the nation of islam he posed you know
it's just all so unfortunate you do not personally feel that anyone any member of the brotherhood of islam committed this crime no no we don't we don't do anything like that that summer of 1964 j edgar hoover sent a memo to his new york office that explicitly stated quote do something about

malcolm

x we don't know what he meant by that there are thousands of pages of classified fbi files that have yet to be revealed for us to know there's no doubt that the afterlife of

malcolm

x has had more impact than his life people beginning to see the truths he told the love he displayed the courage he exemplified the visions for the oneness of humanity that he was after what was silence was a man a black man who had thoroughly studied the system that exists in this country who understood it very clearly and who was developing a cohesive plan to deal with it there will come a time when black people wake up and become intellectually independent enough to think for
themselves his voice predicted the urban rebellions in watts and throughout the nation in 1968 his voice predicted the growing frustrations that african americans would feel as the civil rights progress is slow to a halt he predicted the ongoing troubles with police brutality the growing frustration of black youth who had almost given up

malcolm

was a young man when the world learned about him he was just in his 20s and he was killed at 39 and and you know this man made a significant impact all
around the world in just 12 short years what attracted me most we knew we could trust him no matter where our operation went or whatever happened he wouldn't have backed this if we came in together we were going to go out together you