Netflix has released a series titled, “Who Killed Malcolm X?” However, the more relevant question is: for what reason was Malcolm X murdered?
While it is good to see justice done and have the triggermen brought to justice, the bigger criminal—the more liable criminals—were the ones who gave the order. They would be known as either co-conspirators or accessories to the crime. And just who the co-conspirators are is no secret, never has been.
Who killed Malcolm will likely never be proven, but it doesn’t have to be. The federal government wanted Malcolm X dead and only a fool would conclude otherwise. At the time of his death, two noted FBI and NY City police informants were on hand. One traitor Gene Roberts had infiltrated Malcolm’s Organization for African American Unity (OAAU) so completely that he was known as Brother Gene.
Roberts can be seen in pictures of the scene immediately after Malcolm was shot, appearing to try to resuscitate the dying leader. Another well-known Black spy for the FBI was identified by one of Malcolm’s associates as having been in the Audubon Ballroom when Malcolm was shot.
Some clueless Black folks and others have called on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate. Predictably, they have declined. Why would they investigate themselves?
Malcolm X was murdered with the consent and help of the highest levels of the U.S. government. It was carried out by the same agencies that have murdered and attempted to murder democratically elected leaders in Third World countries. He was murdered by the same cartel that oversaw and helped orchestrate the murder of African and Third World leaders Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara and Maurice Bishop. It was carried out by the same gangsters who murdered Fred Hampton and Dr. Martin King, Jr. and other Black Panthers and revolutionaries.
The New York Times, which had nothing good to say about Malcolm when he was alive, printed a story about the release of the Netflix documentary. They quoted White civil rights historian David Garrow, as if they could not find a Black academic or historian to comment, which is just another way to continue the colonial perspective on Black folks.
Garrow, who took every opportunity to paint unflattering pictures of the Black people who sacrificed everything to bring about Black freedom, said, “There was for decades a consensus in Black communities that we are not going to pick up that rock to see what’s underneath it.”
Clearly, Garrow does not know what he is talking about. Black folks didn’t look under the rock because they already knew that the government’s armed bodies of men and intelligence and spy apparatus had felled Malcolm X. And Black folks didn’t waste a lot of time pointing fingers at the Nation of Islam because most were smart enough to recognize that it was played too and that internecine struggle with the sect would not solve our problems.
And he wasn’t murdered for the spurious reasons that Black folks like to bandy about. He wasn’t killed because he was a Black nationalist. The government hates nationalists, as well, especially those who can rally Black folks. But they sometimes find them useful because their good intentions can be obfuscated.
Interestingly, when many Black folks talk about Malcolm X they are selective. They love the Spike Lee version of Malcolm X that had the revolutionary in a Zoot suit for nearly an hour of the film. They love the militant, narrow Black Nationalist that appeared to preach hatred for White folks while preaching Black love. In fact, he was safe within the Nation of Islam as long as he promoted a type of Black Nationalism that was at peace with Black boutique capitalism, which the Nation had practically turned into a science.
However, there is not so much love for the post-1963 version of Malcolm X who called out this filthy rotten system called capitalism.
It is indeed ironic that so many Black folks have love for a system and class society that was responsible for our ancestors’ enslavement and the modern class version of capitalism that has enabled our present neo-slavery. Malcolm said at rally once that, “You can’t have capitalism without racism.”
Malcolm X made it plain that our primary enemy was this system. He made it clear that the struggle of Black folks against racism in the U.S. was a part of a worldwide struggle. He said, “The revolt of the American Negro is part of the rebellion against oppression and colonialism …It is incorrect to classify the revolt of the Negro as simply a racial conflict of Black against White, or as a purely American problem. Rather, we are today seeing a global rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressor, the exploited against the exploiter.”
Malcolm was taken from us because he had the potential to ignite and organize a real revolution that would have included everyone as he said, “I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation.”
Ironically, the Times got one thing right. They wrote, “even if Mr. Aziz prevails, it will not settle questions about the larger forces that many think contributed to Malcolm’s death. That part of the story, along with volumes of unreleased F.B.I. files, may never fully surface.”
Justice, then peace.
Mel Reeves was the community editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder until he passed away on January 6, 2022. He had a long and storied history working at the MSR.
Find more about Reeve’s life and legacy here: spokesman-recorder.com/category/remembering-mel-reeves.