Who Killed Malcolm X?

A place with a street sign named after Malcolm X.

Malcolm X was a human-rights activist and a Muslim minister who was quite famous in the U.S. during the civil-rights movements. He was born in Nebraska in 1925 and his parents named him Malcolm Little. Malcolm X is known for advocating for the rights of African Americans, and he was accused of preaching violence-and-racism. He grew up in several foster homes after his mother was hospitalized, and his father died. During his teen years, Malcolm was involved in numerous illegal activities and was finally caught in 1946 and imprisoned for 10years. While in Prison, he joined the NOI (Nation-of-Islam) and became Malcolm X. Death got him when he was shot with a sawed-off shotgun on February 21, 1965. Hayer Talmadge was one of his three killers.

Nation Of Islam

After being paroled, he became an influential member of the NOI and served as the public face of this group. Malcolm rejected the idea of civil-right movement since it emphasized racial integration, advocated for the separation of the white and black Americans, and also black empowerment. Malcolm was proud of some of the work he had done with the NOI, especially the free drug-rehabilitation program. Malcolm X became disillusioned with the NOI in the 1960s, particularly Elijah Muhammad. He was suspended from the group in 1963.

The feud between him and Elijah deepened after he revealed that the group’s leader had children out-of-wedlock with the group’s secretaries. He later became a Sunni Muslim and began advocating for racial integration. After finishing hajj, he changed his name to Malik el-Shabazz. After renouncing the NOI, he founded the OAAU (Organization-of-Afro-American Unity) and MMI (Muslim-Mosque, Inc). Malcolm planned to launch a new political program that would call for the UN to condemn racial practices in the country as human rights violations and include voters registration drive. However, he was gunned down on the day he was to launch his program.

Malcolm X was shot with a sawed-off shotgun on February 21, 1965, in the Audubon-Ballroom, Manhattan, before addressing the OAAU. He passed away at 3:30pm on the same day. The autopsy report confirmed that Malcolm had 21gunshot wounds in his legs, arms, left shoulders, and chest.

Who Killed Malcolm X?     

One of the shooters, Hayer Talmadge, was caught and beaten by the members of the OAAU before being rescued by the police. The other gunmen were identified by the witnesses as Thomas Johnson and Norman Butler. The shooters were convicted and sentenced to life in March 1966. During the trial, Hayer confessed, but he didn’t name the other assailants; however, he asserted that they were not Thomas and Norman. Hayer signed affidavits in 1977 and 1978, reasserting Norman’s and Thomas’s innocence and named 4 other NOI members who participated in the planning of the murder of Malcolm X. Norman was paroled in 1985, and he became the leader of the Harlem mosque while Thomas was released in 1987. Norman is currently known as Muhammad Abdul-Aziz, and he still maintains his innocence to date while Thomas became Khalil Islam. Thomas died in 2009. Hayer became a Sunni Muslim while in prison and changed his name to Mujahid Halim. Hayer was finally paroled in 2010. 


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