Betty Shabazz

Last updated

Betty Shabazz
Betty Shabazz.jpg
Betty Dean Sanders

(1934-05-28)May 28, 1934 [lower-alpha 1]
DiedJune 23, 1997(1997-06-23) (aged 63)
New York City, U.S.
Resting place Ferncliff Cemetery
Other namesBetty X
Education Tuskegee University
Brooklyn State College School of Nursing
(m. 1958; died  1965)
Children6, including Attallah, Qubilah, and Ilyasah
Relatives Malcolm Shabazz (grandson) [1]

Betty Shabazz (born Betty Dean Sanders; [2] May 28, 1934 [lower-alpha 1]  – June 23, 1997), also known as Betty X, was an American educator and civil rights advocate. She was married to Malcolm X.


Shabazz grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where her foster parents largely sheltered her from racism. She attended the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where she had her first encounters with racism. Unhappy with the situation in Alabama, she moved to New York City, where she became a nurse. It was there that she met Malcolm X and, in 1956, joined the Nation of Islam. The couple married in 1958.

Along with her husband, Shabazz left the Nation of Islam in 1964. She witnessed his assassination the following year. Left with the responsibility of raising six daughters as a widow, Shabazz pursued higher education, and went to work at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York.

Following the 1995 arrest of her daughter Qubilah for allegedly conspiring to murder Louis Farrakhan, Shabazz took in her ten-year-old grandson Malcolm. In 1997, he set fire to her apartment. Shabazz suffered severe burns and died three weeks later as a result of her injuries.

Early years

Betty Dean Sanders was born on May 28, 1934, [lower-alpha 1] to Ollie Mae Sanders and Shelman Sandlin. Sandlin was 21 years old and Ollie Mae Sanders was a teenager; the couple was unmarried. Throughout her life, Betty Sanders maintained that she had been born in Detroit, Michigan, but early records—such as her high-school and college transcripts—show Pinehurst, Georgia, as her place of birth. Authorities in Georgia and Michigan have not been able to locate her birth certificate. [3]

By most accounts, Ollie Mae Sanders abused Betty Sanders, whom she was raising in Detroit. When Betty was about 11 years old, she was taken in by Lorenzo and Helen Malloy, a prominent businessman and his wife. Helen Malloy was a founding member of the Housewives League of Detroit, a group of African-American women who organized campaigns to support black-owned businesses and boycott stores that refused to hire black employees. She was also a member of the National Council of Negro Women and the NAACP. The Malloys were both active members of their local Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. [4]

Despite their lessons on black self-reliance, the Malloys never spoke with Sanders about racism. [5] Looking back in 1995, Shabazz wrote: "Race relations were not discussed and it was hoped that by denying the existence of race problems, the problems would go away. Anyone who openly discussed race relations was quickly viewed as a 'troublemaker.'" [6] Still, two race riots during her childhood—in 1942 when the Sojourner Truth housing project was desegregated, and one the following year on Belle Isle—made up what Shabazz later called the "psychological background for my formative years". [7] [8]

Young adult years

After she graduated from high school, Sanders left her foster parents' home in Detroit to study at the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), a historically black college in Alabama that was Lorenzo Malloy's alma mater . She intended to earn a degree in education and become a teacher. [9] When she left Detroit to go to Alabama, her foster mother stood at the train station crying. Shabazz later recalled that Malloy was trying to mumble something, but the words would not come out. By the time she arrived in Alabama, she felt she knew what her foster mother was saying. "The minute I got off that train, I knew what she was trying to say. She was trying to tell me in ten words or less about racism." [10]

Nothing had prepared Sanders for Southern racism. So long as she stayed on campus, she could avoid interacting with white people, but weekend trips into Montgomery, the nearest city, would try her patience. Black students had to wait until every white person in a store had been helped before the staff would serve them—if they received any service at all. When she complained to the Malloys, they refused to discuss the issue; in a 1989 interview, Shabazz summarized their attitude as "if you're just quiet it will go away." [11]

Sanders' studies suffered as a result of her growing frustration. She decided to change her field of study from education to nursing. The dean of nursing, Lillian Holland Harvey, encouraged Sanders to consider studying in a Tuskegee-affiliated program at the Brooklyn State College School of Nursing in New York City. Against her foster parents' wishes, Sanders left Alabama for New York in 1953. [12]

In New York, Sanders encountered a different form of racism. At Montefiore Hospital, where she performed her clinical training, black nurses were given worse assignments than white nurses. White patients sometimes were abusive toward black nurses. While the racial climate in New York was better than the situation in Alabama, Sanders frequently wondered whether she had merely exchanged Jim Crow racism for a more genteel prejudice. [13]

Nation of Islam

During her second year of nursing school, Sanders was invited by an older nurse's aide to a Friday-night dinner party at the Nation of Islam temple in Harlem. "The food was delicious," Shabazz recalled in 1992, "I'd never tasted food like that." [14] After dinner, the woman asked Sanders to come to the Muslims' lecture. Sanders agreed. After the speech, the nurse's aide invited Sanders to join the Nation of Islam; Sanders politely declined. [14] When the woman asked her why she chose not to join the Nation of Islam after visiting, Sanders replied that she did not know she had been brought there to join. "Besides, my mother would kill me, and additionally I don't even understand the philosophy." [10] The Malloys were Methodists, and when she was 13, Sanders had decided she would remain a Methodist for the rest of her life. [10]

The nurse's aide told Sanders about her minister, who was not at the temple that night: "Just wait until you hear my minister talk. He's very disciplined, he's good-looking, and all the sisters want him." [14] Sanders enjoyed the food so much, she agreed to come back and meet the woman's minister. At the second dinner, the nurse's aide told her the minister was present and Sanders thought to herself, "Big deal." [15] In 1992 she recalled how her demeanor changed when she caught a glimpse of Malcolm X:

Then, I looked over and saw this man on the extreme right aisle sort of galloping to the podium. He was tall, he was thin, and the way he was galloping it looked as though he was going someplace much more important than the podium. ... He got to the podium—and I sat up straight. I was impressed with him. [16]

Sanders met Malcolm X again at a dinner party. The two had a long conversation about Sanders's life: her childhood in Detroit, the racial hostility she had encountered in Alabama, and her studies in New York. He spoke to her about the condition of African Americans and the causes of racism. Sanders began to see things from a different perspective. [17] "I really had a lot of pent-up anxiety about my experience in the South," Shabazz recalled in a 1990 interview, "and Malcolm reassured me that it was understandable how I felt." [18]

Soon Sanders was attending all of Malcolm X's lectures at Temple Number Seven in Harlem. He always sought her out afterwards, and he would ask her a lot of questions. [19] Sanders was impressed with Malcolm X's leadership and work ethic. She felt he was selfless when it came to helping others, but he had no one to lean on when he needed help. She thought maybe she could be that person. [10] He also began to pressure her to join the Nation of Islam. In mid 1956, Sanders converted. Like many members of the Nation of Islam, she changed her surname to "X", which represented the family name of her African ancestors that she could never know. [19]

Marriage and family

Betty X and Malcolm X did not have a conventional courtship. One-on-one dates were contrary to the teachings of the Nation of Islam. Instead, the couple shared their "dates" with dozens, or even hundreds of other members. Malcolm X frequently took groups to visit New York's museums and libraries, and he always invited Betty X. [16]

Although they had never discussed the subject, Betty X suspected that Malcolm X was interested in marriage. One day he called and asked her to marry him, and they were married on January 14, 1958, in Lansing, Michigan. [20] [21] By coincidence, Betty X became a licensed nurse on the same day. [22]

At first, their relationship followed the Nation of Islam's strictures concerning marriage; Malcolm X set the rules and Betty X obediently followed them. [23] In 1969, Shabazz wrote that "his indoctrination was so thorough, even to me, that it has become a pattern for our [family's] lives." [24] Over time, the family dynamic changed, as Malcolm X made small concessions to Betty X's demands for more independence. [25] In 1969, Shabazz recalled:

We would have little family talks. They began at first with Malcolm telling me what he expected of a wife. But the first time I told him what I expected of him as a husband it came as a shock. After dinner one night he said, "Boy, Betty, something you said hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I've been going along having our little workshops with me doing all the talking and you doing all the listening." He concluded our marriage should be a mutual exchange. [26]

The couple had six daughters. Their names were Attallah, born in 1958 and named after Attila the Hun; [lower-alpha 2] Qubilah, born in 1960 and named after Kublai Khan; Ilyasah, born in 1962 and named after Elijah Muhammad; Gamilah Lumumba, born in 1964 and named after Patrice Lumumba; and twins, Malikah and Malaak, born in 1965 after their father's assassination and named for him. [30]

Leaving the Nation of Islam

On March 8, 1964, Malcolm X announced that he was leaving the Nation of Islam. [31] He and Betty X, now known as Betty Shabazz, became Sunni Muslims. [32] [33]

Assassination of Malcolm X

Betty Shabazz in February 1965, after identifying Malcolm X's body at the New York City Morgue Betty Shabazz 1965.jpg
Betty Shabazz in February 1965, after identifying Malcolm X's body at the New York City Morgue

On February 21, 1965, in Manhattan's Audubon Ballroom, Malcolm X began to speak to a meeting of the Organization of Afro-American Unity when a disturbance broke out in the crowd of 400. [34] As Malcolm X and his bodyguards moved to quiet the disturbance, a man rushed forward and shot Malcolm in the chest with a sawed-off shotgun. [35] Two other men charged the stage and fired handguns, hitting Malcolm X 16 times. [36]

Shabazz was in the audience near the stage with her daughters. When she heard the gunfire, she grabbed the children and pushed them to the floor beneath the bench, where she shielded them with her body. When the shooting stopped, Shabazz ran toward her husband and tried to perform CPR. Police officers and Malcolm X's associates used a stretcher to carry him up the block to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. [37]

Angry onlookers caught and beat one of the assassins, who was arrested on the scene. [38] [39] Eyewitnesses identified two more suspects. All three men, who were members of the Nation of Islam, were convicted and sentenced to life in prison. [40]

After Malcolm's assassination

Immediately afterward

Shabazz had difficulty sleeping for weeks after Malcolm X's assassination. She suffered from nightmares in which she relived the death of her husband. She also worried about how she would support herself and her family. The publication of The Autobiography of Malcolm X helped, because Shabazz received half of the royalties. [41] (Alex Haley, who assisted Malcolm X in writing the book, got the other half. After the publication of his best-seller Roots , Haley signed over his portion of the royalties to Shabazz. [42] [43] )

Actor and activist Ruby Dee and Juanita Poitier (who was married to Sidney Poitier) established the Committee of Concerned Mothers, to raise funds to buy a house, and pay educational expenses for the Shabazz family. The Committee held a series of benefit concerts at which they raised $17,000. [44] [45] They bought a large two-family home in Mount Vernon, New York, from Congressmember Bella Abzug. [46] [47]

Looking back, Shabazz said she initially made an "unrealistic decision" to isolate herself because of the injustice of her husband's assassination. She realized, however, that giving up because of her husband's death would not help the world. "It is impossible to create an environment for children to grow in and develop in isolation. It is imperative that one mix in society on some level and at some time." [10]

Pilgrimage to Mecca

In late March 1965, Shabazz made the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj), as her husband had the year before. [48] Recalling the experience in 1992, Shabazz wrote:

I really don't know where I'd be today if I had not gone to Mecca to make Hajj shortly after Malcolm was assassinated. ... That is what helped put me back on track. ... Going to Mecca, making Hajj, was very good for me because it made me think of all the people in the world who loved me and were for me, who prayed that I would get my life back together. I stopped focusing on the people who were trying to tear me and my family apart. [49]

Shabazz returned from Mecca with a new name that a fellow pilgrim had bestowed upon her, Bahiyah (meaning "beautiful and radiant"). [50]

Raising her family

Raising six children by herself exhausted Shabazz. Providing for them was difficult as well. Shabazz's share of the royalties from The Autobiography of Malcolm X was equivalent to an annual salary. In 1966, she sold the movie rights to the Autobiography to film-maker Marvin Worth. She began to authorize the publication of Malcolm X's speeches, which provided another source of income. [51]

When her daughters were enrolled in day care, Shabazz became an active member of the day care center's parents organization, where she became very fond of the organization and where she would later start a campaign to run the organization. In time, she became the parents' representative on the school board. Several years later, she became president of the Westchester Day Care Council. [52]

Shabazz began to accept speaking engagements at colleges and universities. She often spoke about the black nationalist philosophy of Malcolm X, but she also spoke about her role as a wife and mother. [53] Shabazz felt that some of the images of her husband projected by the media were misrepresentations. "They attempted to promote him as a violent person, a hater of whites," she explained. "He was a sensitive man, a very understanding person and yes, he disliked the behavior of some whites ... He had a reality-based agenda." [10]

As her daughters grew older, Shabazz sent them to private schools and summer camps. They joined Jack and Jill, a social club for the children of well-off African Americans. [54]

Advanced education

In late 1969, Shabazz enrolled at Jersey City State College (now New Jersey City University) to complete the degree in education she left behind when she became a nurse. She completed her undergraduate studies in one year, and decided to earn a master's degree in health administration. In 1972, Shabazz enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to pursue an Ed.D. in higher education administration and curriculum development. For the next three years, she drove from Mount Vernon to Amherst, Massachusetts, every Monday morning, and returned home Wednesday night. In July 1975, she defended her dissertation and earned her doctorate. [55]

Shabazz joined the New York Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta in April 1974. [56]

Medgar Evers College

In January 1976, Shabazz became associate professor of health sciences with a concentration in nursing at New York's Medgar Evers College. The student body at Medgar Evers was 90 percent black and predominantly working-class, with an average age of 26. Black women made up most of the faculty, and 75 percent of the students were female, two-thirds of them mothers. These were all qualities that made Medgar Evers College attractive to Shabazz. [57]

By 1980, Shabazz was overseeing the health sciences department, and the college president decided she could be more effective in a purely administrative position than she was in the classroom. She was promoted to Director of Institutional Advancement. In her new position, she became a booster and fund-raiser for the college. A year later, she was given tenure. In 1984, Shabazz was given a new title, Director of Institutional Advancement and Public Affairs; she held that position at the college until her death. [58]

Volunteer work

Shabazz at St. Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago Photograph Betty Shabazz at St. Sabina (14726502236).jpg
Shabazz at St. Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago

During the 1970s and 1980s, Shabazz continued her volunteer activities. In 1975, President Ford invited her to serve on the American Revolution Bicentennial Council. Shabazz served on an advisory committee on family planning for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 1984, she hosted the New York convention of the National Council of Negro Women. Shabazz became active in the NAACP and the National Urban League [59] and was a member of The Links. [60] :102 When Nelson and Winnie Mandela visited Harlem during 1990, Shabazz was asked to introduce Winnie Mandela. [61]

Shabazz befriended Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of Medgar Evers, and Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. They had the common experience of losing their activist husbands at a young age and raising their children as single mothers. The press came to refer to the three, who made numerous joint public appearances, as the "Movement widows". Evers-Williams and King were frequent guests at Medgar Evers College, and Shabazz occasionally visited the King Center in Atlanta. [62] Writing about Shabazz, Evers-Williams described her as a "free spirit, in the best sense of the word. When she laughed, she had this beauty; when she smiled, it lit up the whole room." [63]

Louis Farrakhan

For many years, Shabazz harbored resentment toward the Nation of Islam—and Louis Farrakhan in particular—for what she felt was their role in the assassination of her husband. [64] Farrakhan seemed to boast of the assassination in a 1993 speech:

Was Malcolm your traitor or ours? And if we dealt with him like a nation deals with a traitor, what the hell business is it of yours? A nation has to be able to deal with traitors and cutthroats and turncoats. [65] [66]

In a 1994 interview, Gabe Pressman asked Shabazz whether Farrakhan "had anything to do" with Malcolm X's death. She replied: "Of course, yes. Nobody kept it a secret. It was a badge of honor. Everybody talked about it, yes." [67] Farrakhan denied the allegations, stating "I never had anything to do with Malcolm's death", although he said he had "created an atmosphere that allowed Malcolm to be assassinated." [67]

In January 1995, Qubilah Shabazz was charged with trying to hire an assassin to kill Farrakhan in retaliation for the murder of her father. [68] Farrakhan surprised the Shabazz family when he defended Qubilah, saying he did not think she was guilty and that he hoped she would not be convicted. [69] That May, Betty Shabazz and Farrakhan shook hands on the stage of the Apollo Theater during a public event intended to raise money for Qubilah's legal defense. [70] Some heralded the evening as a reconciliation between the two, but others thought Shabazz was doing whatever she had to in order to protect her daughter. Regardless, nearly $250,000 was raised that evening. In the aftermath, Shabazz maintained a cool relationship with Farrakhan, although she agreed to speak at his Million Man March that October. [71]

Qubilah accepted a plea agreement with respect to the charges, in which she maintained her innocence but accepted responsibility for her actions. [70] Under the terms of the agreement, she was required to undergo psychological counseling and treatment for drug and alcohol abuse for a two-year period in order to avoid a prison sentence. [72] For the duration of her treatment, Qubilah's ten-year-old son, Malcolm, was sent to live with Shabazz at her apartment in Yonkers, New York. [73]


On June 1, 1997, her 12-year-old grandson Malcolm set a fire in Shabazz's apartment. Shabazz suffered burns over 80 percent of her body, and remained in intensive care for three weeks, at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. [73] [74] She underwent five skin-replacement operations as doctors struggled to replace damaged skin and save her life. Shabazz died of her injuries on June 23, 1997. [75] Malcolm Shabazz was sentenced to 18 months in juvenile detention for manslaughter and arson. [76] [77]

The gravesite of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz in Ferncliff Cemetery Shabazz Gravesite.jpg
The gravesite of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz in Ferncliff Cemetery

More than 2,000 mourners attended a memorial service for Shabazz, at New York's Riverside Church. Many prominent leaders were present, including Coretta Scott King and Myrlie Evers-Williams, poet Maya Angelou, actor-activists Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, New York Governor George Pataki, and four New York City mayors—Abraham Beame, Ed Koch, David Dinkins, and Rudy Giuliani. U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman delivered a tribute from President Bill Clinton. [78] In a statement released after Shabazz's death, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said, "She never stopped giving and she never became cynical. She leaves today the legacy of one who epitomized hope and healing." [79]

Shabazz's funeral service was held at the Islamic Cultural Center in New York City. Her public viewing was at the Unity Funeral Home in Harlem, the same place where Malcolm X's viewing had taken place 32 years earlier. Shabazz was buried next to her husband, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. [80]


In late 1997, the Community Healthcare Network renamed one of its Brooklyn, New York, clinics the Dr. Betty Shabazz Health Center, in honor of Shabazz. [81] [82] [lower-alpha 3] The Betty Shabazz International Charter School was founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1998 and named in her honor. [84] In 2005, Columbia University announced the opening of the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center. The memorial is located in the Audubon Ballroom, where Malcolm X was assassinated. [85] In March 2012, New York City co-named Broadway at the corner of West 165th Street, the corner in front of the Audubon Ballroom, Betty Shabazz Way. [86] [87]

Portrayals in film and television

Shabazz was the subject of the 2013 television movie Betty & Coretta , in which she was played by Mary J. Blige. [88] Angela Bassett portrayed her in the 1992 film Malcolm X [89] and in a less prominent role in the 1995 film Panther . [90] Yolanda King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, played Shabazz in the 1981 television movie Death of a Prophet , [91] and Shabazz was portrayed by Victoria Dillard in the 2001 film Ali . [92] Joaquina Kalukango portrays her in the 2020 film One Night in Miami... , alongside Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X. [93] Shabazz was portrayed by Grace Porter in the second season of the 2019 TV series Godfather of Harlem . [94]

Related Research Articles

Malcolm X African-American human rights activist (1925–1965)

Malcolm X was an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a prominent figure during the civil rights movement. A spokesman for the Nation of Islam until 1964, he was a vocal advocate for Black empowerment and the promotion of Islam within the Black community. A posthumous autobiography, on which he collaborated with Alex Haley, was published in 1965.

Nation of Islam African American political and religious movement

The Nation of Islam (NOI) is a religious and political organization founded in the United States by Wallace Fard Muhammad in 1930. A black nationalist organization, the NOI focuses its attention on the African diaspora, especially on African Americans. While it identifies itself as promoting a form of Islam, its beliefs differ considerably from mainstream Islamic traditions. Scholars of religion characterise it as a new religious movement. It operates as a centralized and hierarchical organization. Its critics, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, have accused it of being a black supremacist hate group that promotes racial prejudice towards white people, anti-semitism, and anti-LGBT rhetoric. Muslim critics accuse it of promoting teachings that are not authentically Islamic.

Louis Farrakhan American conspiracy theorist and leader of the Nation of Islam

Louis Farrakhan is an American religious leader, black supremacist, anti-white conspiracy theorist, and former singer who heads the Nation of Islam (NOI). Prior to joining the NOI, he was a calypso music singer who went by the stage name Calypso Gene. Earlier in his career, he served as the minister of mosques in Boston and Harlem and was appointed National Representative of the Nation of Islam by former NOI leader Elijah Muhammad. He adopted the name Louis X, before being named Louis Farrakhan.

Qubilah Bahiyah Shabazz is the second daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz. In 1965, she witnessed the assassination of her father by three gunmen. She was arrested in 1995 in connection with an alleged plot to kill Louis Farrakhan, by then the leader of the Nation of Islam who she believed was responsible for the assassination of her father. She has maintained her innocence. She accepted a plea agreement under which she was required to undergo psychological counseling and treatment for her substance use disorders to avoid a prison sentence.

Elijah Muhammad American religious leader (1897–1975)

Elijah Muhammad was an American religious leader, black separatist, and self-proclaimed Messenger of Allah, who led the Nation of Islam (NOI) from 1934 until his death in 1975. Muhammad was also the teacher and mentor of Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, Muhammad Ali, and his own son, Warith Deen Mohammed.

Audubon Ballroom Former theater and ballroom in Manhattan, New York

The Audubon Theatre and Ballroom, generally referred to as the Audubon Ballroom, was a theatre and ballroom located at 3940 Broadway at West 165th Street in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It was built in 1912 and was designed by Thomas W. Lamb. The theatre was known at various times as the William Fox Audubon Theatre, the Beverly Hills Theater, and the San Juan Theater, and the ballroom is noted for being the site of the assassination of Malcolm X on February 21, 1965. It is currently the Audubon Business and Technology Center, which is part of Columbia University's Audubon Research Park.

Malcolm Shabazz

Malcolm Latif Shabazz was the son of Qubilah Shabazz, the second daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz. He was the first male descendant of Malcolm X. In 1997, when he was 12 years old, Shabazz set fire to the apartment of his grandmother, Betty Shabazz, causing her death. Shabazz was murdered in Mexico City on May 9, 2013, at the age of 28. He was said to be on a tour to demand more rights and better working conditions for Mexican construction workers in the United States.

The Hayer affidavits are two affidavits made by Talmadge Hayer—also known by the name Thomas Hagan—the convicted assassin of Malcolm X. The statements give Hayer's account of his involvement in the planning and execution of the murder.

Yolanda King American activist (1955-2007)

Yolanda Denise King was an African American activist and first-born child of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. She was also known for her artistic and entertainment endeavors and public speaking. Her childhood experience was greatly influenced by her father's highly public and influential activism.

<i>Muhammad Speaks</i>

Muhammad Speaks was one of the most widely read newspapers ever produced by an African-American organization. It was the official newspaper of the Nation of Islam from 1960 to 1975, founded by a group of Elijah Muhammad's ministers, including Malcolm X. After Elijah Muhammad's death in 1975, it was renamed several times after Warith Deen Mohammed moved the Nation of Islam into mainstream Sunni Islam, culminating in The Muslim Journal. A number of rival journals were also published, including The Final Call under Louis Farrakhan, claiming to continue the message of the original.

Ilyasah Shabazz American writer, daughter of Malcolm X (born 1962)

Ilyasah Shabazz is an American author, most notably of a memoir, Growing Up X, community organizer, social activist, and motivational speaker, and the third daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz.

Shabazz is the name of a black architect whose tribe founded the populations of Africa according to the doctrine of the Nation of Islam (NOI). It is similar to the Persian name Shahbaz.

Khadijah Farrakhan

Khadijah Farrakhan is the wife of Louis Farrakhan, the Supreme Leader of the Nation of Islam. She is known as the "First Lady of the Nation of Islam".

<i>Malcolm X</i> (1972 film) 1972 film

Malcolm X, also known as Malcolm X: His Own Story As It Really Happened, is a 1972 American documentary film directed by Arnold Perl. It is based on the 1965 book The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center

The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center is a memorial to Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz located at 3940 Broadway and West 165th Street in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, the building which once housed the Audubon Ballroom, where Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965. It opened on May 19, 2005, the 80th anniversary of Malcolm X's birth.

Seven Songs for Malcolm X is a British documentary film about the life of Malcolm X, the influential civil rights activist who was assassinated in 1965. The film was written and directed by John Akomfrah, with co-writer Edward George, and produced by Lina Gopaul. The Black Audio Film Collective, Akomfrah's London-based company, and Channel 4 Television Corporation were both involved in the production of the film. It was first aired at the Toronto Festival of Festivals in Canada, on 15 September 1993, and then at the Chicago International Film Festival in October 1993. On 15 March 2009, it was released in the Czech Republic at the One World Film Festival. The film was distributed by Channel 4 Television Company. It was filmed in London and has a runtime of 52 minutes.

Russell John Rickford is an American scholar and author. An associate professor in the History Department at Cornell University, he has written the only in-depth biography on Betty Shabazz. Rickford is an expert on the black radical tradition and on black liberal culture after World War II, and lectures on American social and political history, among other subjects.

Attallah Shabazz

Attallah Shabazz is an American actress, author, diplomat, and motivational speaker, and the eldest daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz.

Muhammad Ali was initially raised as a Baptist before entering Islam.

Assassination of Malcolm X 1965 murder in New York City, US

Malcolm X, an African American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a popular figure during the civil rights movement, was assassinated in Manhattan, New York City on February 21, 1965. While preparing to address the Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in the neighborhood of Washington Heights, Malcolm X was shot multiple times and killed. Three members of the Nation of Islam were charged with the murder and given indeterminate life sentences, but in November 2021, two of the men were exonerated.



  1. 1 2 3 Rickford, p. 2. Some sources indicate May 28, 1936. According to Perry, 1934 is the year shown on Shabazz's driver's license application and nursing license, but 1936 is shown on her marriage license and voting registration application (p. 440). According to Rickford, Shabazz's birth certificate has not been located (pp. 2–3).
  2. Attallah Shabazz has said she was not named after Attila, rather her name is Arabic for "the gift of God". [27] [28] [29]
  3. In 2017, the Dr. Betty Shabazz Health Center was rebuilt, combined with another facility, and renamed Community Healthcare Network–East New York. [82] [83]


  1. Harrison, Isheka N. (July 2010). "Malcolm X's Grandson Working on Memoirs in Miami". South Florida Times. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  2. Rickford, p. 56.
  3. Rickford, pp. 2–3.
  4. Rickford, pp. 5–11.
  5. Rickford, p. 12.
  6. Shabazz, "From the Detroit Riot to the Malcolm Summit", p. 62.
  7. Shabazz, "From the Detroit Riot to the Malcolm Summit", p. 64.
  8. Rickford, pp. 17–18.
  9. Rickford, pp. 21–22.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Lanker, p. 100.
  11. Rickford, pp. 24–26.
  12. Rickford, pp. 26–28, 31.
  13. Rickford, p. 35.
  14. 1 2 3 Shabazz, "Loving and Losing Malcolm", p. 52.
  15. Shabazz, "Loving and Losing Malcolm", pp. 52–54.
  16. 1 2 Shabazz, "Loving and Losing Malcolm", p. 54.
  17. Rickford, pp. 42–43.
  18. Mills, David (February 25, 1990). "The Resurrection of Malcolm X". The Washington Post . Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved February 28, 2013.(subscription required)
  19. 1 2 Rickford, pp. 43, 50–51.
  20. Shabazz, "Malcolm X as a Husband and Father", pp. 132–134.
  21. Rickford, pp. 73–74.
  22. Rickford, p. 102.
  23. Rickford, pp. 99–102.
  24. Shabazz, "The Legacy of My Husband, Malcolm X", p. 176.
  25. Rickford, p. 106.
  26. Shabazz, "Malcolm X as a Husband and Father", p. 134.
  27. Hopkins, Ellen (November 30, 1989). "Yolanda King and Attallah Shabazz: Their Fathers' Daughters". Rolling Stone . Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  28. Miller, Russell (November 23, 1992). "X Patriot". New York . Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  29. Barboza, Steven (1994). American Jihad: Islam After Malcolm X. New York: Image Books. pp. 205–206. ISBN   978-0-385-47694-2. People have to understand the autobiography was written at a time when indeed African Americans were likening themselves to warriors to underscore our revolutionary fervor. And Attallah was close to Attila the Hun, the warrior. But I'm named Attallah, which in Arabic means 'Gift of God.' I've never been Attila.
  30. Rickford, pp. 109–110, 122–123, 197, 286.
  31. Handler, M. S. (March 9, 1964). "Malcolm X Splits with Muhammad". The New York Times . Retrieved June 19, 2018.(subscription required)
  32. Rickford, p. 185.
  33. Perry, p. 261.
  34. Kihss, Peter (February 22, 1965). "Malcolm X Shot to Death at Rally Here". The New York Times. Retrieved June 19, 2018.(subscription required)
  35. Perry, p. 366.
  36. Evanzz, p. 295.
  37. Rickford, pp. 226–232.
  38. Perry, pp. 366–367.
  39. Talese, Gay (February 22, 1965). "Police Save Suspect From the Crowd". The New York Times. Retrieved June 19, 2018.(subscription required)
  40. Rickford, p. 289.
  41. Rickford, pp. 255, 285.
  42. Haley, p. 249.
  43. Rickford, p. 390.
  44. Rickford, pp. 261–264, 284.
  45. "Stage Stars Due in Benefit for Family of Malcolm X". The New York Times. April 12, 1965. Retrieved June 20, 2018.(subscription required)
  46. Levine and Thom, p. 43.
  47. Nichelle Rascoe (January 18, 2018). "A Timeline of Black History in Westchester". Westchester Magazine. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  48. Rickford, pp. 278–284.
  49. Shabazz, "Loving and Losing Malcolm", p. 110.
  50. Rickford, p. 284.
  51. Rickford, pp. 301, 314, 316, 346.
  52. Rickford, pp. 304–305, 353.
  53. Rickford, pp. 321–332.
  54. Rickford, pp. 346–349.
  55. Rickford, pp. 358–365.
  56. Rickford, pp. 361–363.
  57. Rickford, pp. 366–369, 373.
  58. Rickford, pp. 373–374, 380.
  59. Rickford, pp. 384, 394, 397–398.
  60. Graham, Lawrence Otis (2014). Our kind of people. [Place of publication not identified]: HarperCollins e-Books. ISBN   978-0-06-187081-1. OCLC   877899803.
  61. Rickford, pp. 447–452.
  62. Rickford, pp. 400–405, 473–474.
  63. Brown, p. 20.
  64. Rickford, pp. 436–439, 492–495.
  65. Rickford, p. 492.
  66. Wartofsky, Alona (February 17, 1995). "'Brother Minister: The Martyrdom of Malcolm X'". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  67. 1 2 "Widow of Malcolm X Suspects Farrakhan Had Role in Killing". The New York Times. March 13, 1994. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  68. "Malcolm X's Daughter Indicted in Alleged Plot to Kill Louis Farrakhan". Jet . Johnson Publishing Company. January 30, 1995. pp. 6–10. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  69. "Betty Shabazz Praises Farrakhan for Believing Her Daughter Is Innocent in Alleged Murder Plot". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. February 6, 1995. p. 18. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  70. 1 2 "Dr. Betty Shabazz, Minister Farrakhan Mend 30-Year Rift During Fund-Raiser". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. May 22, 1995. pp. 12–13. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  71. Rickford, p. 519.
  72. "Settlement Reached in Murder-for-Hire Case Against Malcolm X's Daughter, Qubilah Shabazz". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. May 15, 1995. p. 17. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  73. 1 2 Bruni, Frank (June 4, 1997). "Mother Tries to Calm Son At Hearing on Shabazz Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  74. McFadden, Robert D. (June 24, 1997). "Disputes and Legalisms Are Put Aside as Friends and Family Grieve". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  75. McFadden, Robert D. (June 24, 1997). "Betty Shabazz, A Rights Voice, Dies of Burns". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  76. "Betty Shabazz's Grandson Pleads Guilty to Setting Fatal Fire". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. July 28, 1997. p. 5. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  77. Gross, Jane (August 9, 1997). "Grandson of Betty Shabazz Is Sentenced to a Juvenile Center". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  78. Bruni, Frank (June 30, 1997). "Stirred by Her Life, Thousands Attend Service for Shabazz". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  79. "Quotes in the News". The Buffalo News . June 25, 1997. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  80. "Thousands Mourn Death of Dr. Betty Shabazz in New York City". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. July 14, 1997. pp. 14–17. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  81. Weisman, Peter (July 2000). "Sound Space" (PDF). Lighting Design + Application. Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. p. 37. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  82. 1 2 "Renovation of CHN's East New York Site" (PDF). 2016 Annual Report: Redefining Community Health Care for the 21st Century. Community Healthcare Network. p. 20. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  83. "East New York (formerly the Dr. Betty Shabazz Center)". Community Healthcare Network . Retrieved June 20, 2018.[ permanent dead link ]
  84. Lowenstein, Jeff Kelly (Summer 2008). "O Pioneer!". Northwestern. Northwestern University . Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  85. "Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center Launches". Columbia University. May 17, 2005. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  86. Potratz, John (March 3, 2012). "Street co-named after wife of Malcolm X". WABC-TV . Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  87. "Street Renamed For Betty Shabazz". My Fox NY. March 3, 2012. Archived from the original on March 6, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  88. Hinckley, David (February 1, 2013). "Mary J. Blige is Betty Shabazz, Malcolm X's wife, in 'Betty and Coretta' TV movie". New York Daily News . Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  89. Canby, Vincent (November 18, 1992). "'Malcolm X,' as Complex as Its Subject". The New York Times. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  90. Mills, Nancy (February 2, 2013). "Angela Bassett: Actress gets to play different civil-rights widow". The Columbus Dispatch . Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  91. Martin, Douglas (May 17, 2007). "Yolanda King, 51, Actor and Dr. King's Daughter, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  92. McCann, Bob (2010). "Victoria Dillard". Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and Television. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company. p. 101. ISBN   978-0-7864-3790-0 . Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  93. Sledge, Philip (December 25, 2020). "One Night In Miami: Where You've Seen The Cast Of Regina King's New Drama". CinemaBlend . Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  94. Petski, Denise (January 7, 2021). "'Walker' Casts Rebekah Graf; Grace Porter Joins 'Godfather Of Harlem'". Deadline Hollywood . Retrieved April 27, 2021.

Works cited

Further reading