To truly understand why Malcolm X was killed on February 21 1965 one must consider the setting and evaluate his actions and the thoughts behind them. These components will reveal the reasons for his death.
I plan to highlight two major factors that if needed could be broken down into thousands of sub-factors. These two main elements are Malcolm X’s false idea that he was a black man thus African man, and the Nation of Islam’s collapse after the death of Ronald Stokes.
Malcolm X was born “on May 19, 1925, at Omaha’s University Hospital” (Manning 23). He was the fourth child of Earl and Louisa Little.
According to Manning Marable:
“Within Montreal’s small, mostly Caribbean black community that Earl fell in love with a beautiful Grenadian, Louisa Langdon Norton. Born in St. Andrew, Grenada, in 1897, she had been raised by her maternal grandmother, Mary Jane Langdon. Louise, as she was known, had a fair complexion and dark flowing hair; in every day encounters she was often mistaken for white“(Marable 16)
This is an interesting piece of information. Here we have a woman, Louisa, who looks white but identifies as black, being married to a black man, who shortly before he meets her abandons his wife.
Can someone consider how this shaped the mind of an adolescent Malcolm X?
Recognize also that Malcolm X’s father, Earl, was an authentic African person, that is, his skin color fell within the spectrum of brown to black, and he had African textured hair. It was this man who left his first wife, an authentic African person, for the future mother of Malcolm X.
Can one see how hypocrisy and racial confusion were planted in the mind of Malcolm X at a young age?Let’s be clear, Malcolm X is a Griffe, a person of three-quarter black and one-quarter white ancestry. So it is with this subjective core context within the objective larger context – white animosity towards non-whites in the United States of America we see Malcolm X develop.
As a seeker of truth, I focused on who Malcolm X was genetically speaking since it dictated his direction as well as his choices throughout his life.
Was he pigeon holed into accepting a black identity?
This was due to his father, Earl Little, a man many African people would consider a race traitor, socializing Malcolm X incorrectly. This in addition to the dilemma of every non-white within a European dominated political sphere being forced to accept a restricted definition of who is considered white and a broad definition of who is African is what gave Malcolm X a false view of reality.
This first factor of Malcolm X’s assassination explains the infighting within the Nation of Islam where multiracial people such as Elijah Muhammad and Louis Walcott, aka Louis Farrakhan, preached of building the fortunes of African Americans up if they selected a certain way of living, an Arab way of living, but the NOI rejected the fact that the vast majority of people identified as Negroes or African Americans were genetically and phenotypically identical to the people who lived on the African continent: South Africa, Botswana, Angola, Zimbabwe, etc. And those who identified as African yet failed the visual test were not African. Thus not African American.
I write all that to say that the multiracial leadership was marketing a culture which alienated African people from themselves, cutting Africans in the Americans off from who they are historically.
How does this cause infighting? Because these multiracial men became frustrated with African Americans for not gravitating to the NOI as they would hope and there was a huge amount of money at stake.
Furthermore, I suspect Elijah Muhammad noticed, unlike his Arab counterparts with their suicide bombers, African Americans had their limits. It was as if African Americans were saying in a collective subconscious voice”I am not a true believer because your God does not look like me”.
This core contradiction of the group led to vacillation, causing an implosion. And instead of Nation of Islam members collectively seeking to battle Europeans for power in the U.S., the group instead sought to bicker over money and petty personality differences which were developed because they were not socialized under a true manifesto that reflected the leadership’s genetic and phenotypical makeup.
Indeed, we see the second factor is caused by the first.
With an illogical reason to commune with one another, the Nation of Islam attained members under a false pretense. Although rituals such as praying five time a day (meditation), giving donations (showing unselfishness), and being sober (clear of mind) were beneficial to individual multiracial and black members it still could not help the community they inhabited because Islam is anti-African.
So when the Nation of Islam was attacked in California inside their mosque and a member was killed the organization was paralyzed.
According to Manny Marable’s “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention”:
NOI Officer Ronald Stokes, a Korean War veteran, had attempted to surrender to the police by raising his hands over his head. Police responded by shooting him from the rear; a bullet pierced his heart, killing him. (Marable 207)
The actions of the Nation of Islam after this incident showed a lack of insight into how to fight problems facing African people in the United States. The only option they had to express their anger was to turn within, and what better way to do that than to assassinate a former member who abandons your cause – a traitor, Malcolm X.
Marable, Manning. Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. New York: Viking, 2011. Print.