February 20, 2010

Betty Shabazz: "Have I gotten any threats? All I get is threats"

Malcolm X endured many hardships and dangers in his tragically short life, and equally tragic was how his family was affected as well.

Especially in the latter days of his life, Malcolm's fearless activism and leadership brought death threats and a constant sense of peril to his wife and children.

When asked in 1965 whether her family received death threats, Betty Shabazz, who was a heroic figure in her own right, explained: "Have I gotten any threats? All I get is threats."

Concerns about his safety, and the possibility of assassination attempts either from the Nation of Islam or other enemies caused increasing stress for Malcolm and his family, until sadly those fears proved to be all too well founded.

Betty Shabazz: "Have I gotten any threats? All I get is threats"

Some threats were made anonymously. During the month of June 1964, FBI surveillance recorded two such threats. On June 8, a man called Malcolm X's home and told Betty Shabazz to "tell him he's as good as dead." On June 12, an FBI informant reported getting an anonymous telephone call from somebody who said "Malcolm X is going to be bumped off." In June 1964, the Nation of Islam sued to reclaim Malcolm X's residence in Queens, New York, which they claimed to own. The suit was successful, and Malcolm X was ordered to vacate. On February 14, 1965, the night before a scheduled hearing to postpone the eviction date, the house burned to the ground. Malcolm X and his family survived. No one was charged with any crime.

Posted at February 20, 2010 4:42 AM