Remembering Bev Smith’s All-Star Panel On The Murder Of Malcolm X
There have always been questions about the murder of former Nation of Islam minister Malcolm X.
On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was shot to death at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, where he was to give an address. He was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The autopsy identified 21 gunshot wounds to the chest, left shoulder, arms and legs, including ten buckshot wounds from the initial shotgun blast.
There has been speculation the U.S. government was involved, as there is now known the FBI was keeping close tabs on Malcolm X and considered him a threat. There were rumors that the new leader of the NOI, Minister Louis Farrakhan, helped orchestrate the murder. The questions have grown even louder since in November 2021, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has thrown out the conviction of two men who spent decades in prison after being accused in the murder of civil rights leader Malcolm X.
Khalil Islam, previously known as Thomas 15X Johnson, and Muhammad Aziz, known at the time of the murder as Norman 3X Butler, had held in some of New York’s worst maximum-security prisons.
District Attorney Cy Vance and attorneys for the two men will jointly move on Nov. 18 to vacate their convictions, the District Attorney’s office announced. This comes after the two men spent a combined 42 years in prison, with many years in solitary confinement between them.
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Back in 1995, Bev Smith pondered who killed Malcolm X. She moderated a panel discussion on his murder.
Smith hosted “Our Voices with Bev Smith” television program on Black Entertainment Television.
In one episode, she explored the death of Malcolm X. On panel guests were renown journalist Les Payne of Newsday and author of the book “The Dead Are Rising,” Manny Marble of Columbia University and author of the book “A Life of Reinvention,” Thomas 15x Johnson (also known as Khalil Muhammad), who spent 22 years in jail for the assassination of Malcolm X, George Curry, editor and chief of Emerge Magazine, as well as national spokesman of the Nation of Islam Dr.Alim Muhammad.
The panel discussed the possibility that there was a hidden hand was behind the death of Malcolm X, especially since Malcolm and civil rights icon Martin Luther King were gravitating toward each other and the U.S. government probably did want the two to be united.
Khalil Muhammad said that he was made the scapegoat for the murder of Malcolm X and always maintained his innocence.
The panelists even discussed how some within Malcolm’s family held Farrakhan as responsible. Malcolm’s daughter Qubilah Shabaz was arrested on Jan. 12, 1995, for conspiring to kill Farrakhan.
Screenshot from “Our Voices: Who Killed Malcolm X? Panel Including Dr. Abdul Alim Muhammad (1995),” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hd8hzGpCHc