From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little; May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965) was an African American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a popular figure during the civil rights movement. He is best known for his time spent as a vocal spokesman for the Nation of Islam.
Malcolm spent his adolescence living in a series of foster homes or with relatives after his father’s death and his mother’s hospitalization. He engaged in several illicit activities, eventually being sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1946 for larceny and breaking and entering. In prison, he joined the Nation of Islam, adopted the name Malcolm X (to symbolize his unknown African ancestral surname), and quickly became one of the organization’s most influential leaders after being paroled in 1952. Malcolm X then served as the public face of the organization for a dozen years, where he advocated for black empowerment, black supremacy, and the separation of black and white Americans, and publicly criticized the mainstream civil rights movement for its emphasis on nonviolence and racial integration. Malcolm X also expressed pride in some of the Nation’s social welfare achievements, namely its free drug rehabilitation program. Throughout his life beginning in the 1950s, Malcolm X endured surveillance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the Nation’s supposed links to communism.
In the 1960s, Malcolm X began to grow disillusioned with the Nation of Islam, as well as with its leader Elijah Muhammad. He subsequently embraced Sunni Islam and the civil rights movement after completing the Hajj to Mecca, and became known as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz.[A] After a brief period of travel across Africa, he publicly renounced the Nation of Islam and founded the Islamic Muslim Mosque, Inc. (MMI) and the Pan-AfricanOrganization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). Throughout 1964, his conflict with the Nation of Islam intensified, and he was repeatedly sent death threats. On February 21, 1965, he was assassinated in New York City. Three Nation members were charged with the murder and given indeterminate life sentences. Speculation about the assassination and whether it was conceived or aided by leading or additional members of the Nation, or with law enforcement agencies, have persisted for decades after the shooting.
A controversial figure accused of preaching racism and violence, Malcolm X is also a widely celebrated figure within African-American and Muslim American communities for his pursuit of racial justice. He was posthumously honored with Malcolm X Day, on which he is commemorated in various cities across the United States. Hundreds of streets and schools in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor, while the Audubon Ballroom, the site of his assassination, was partly redeveloped in 2005 to accommodate the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center.
New claims surrounding Malcolm X assassination surface in letter written on former NYPD officer’s death bed
“I have carried these secrets with a heavy heart,” Ray Wood wrote.
22 February 2021, 05:22• 7 min read
New allegations surrounding the death of Malcolm X have surfaced in a letter written by a former New York City Police Department officer on his death bed.
On Jan. 25, 2011, Ray Wood, who was serving as an undercover police officer on the day of Malcolm X’s death, wrote a letter in which he admitted he “participated in actions that in hindsight were deplorable and detrimental to the advancement of my own black people.”
When Wood was hired by the NYPD in 1964, his job was to “infiltrate civil rights organizations” to find evidence of criminal activity so the FBI could discredit the subjects and arrest its leaders, Wood wrote in the letter obtained by ABC News.
Wood’s handler devised the arrest of two of Malcolm X’s “key” security detail members in a plot to bomb the Statue of Liberty days before his 1965 assassination, Wood wrote. The plot involved three members of a Black “terrorist group” and a Canadian woman who were planning to dynamite the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell and the Washington Monument, the New York Times reported on Feb. 16, 1965.
“It was my assignment to draw the two men into a felonious federal crime, so that they could be arrested by the FBI and kept away from managing Malcolm X’s door security on February 21, 1965,” Wood wrote. “… At that time I was not aware that Malcolm X was the target.”
Malcolm X was assassinated in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom while addressing the Organization of Afro-American Unity on Feb. 21, 1965. Three members of the Nation of Islam were convicted of his murder.
Wood alleged in the letter that “his actions on behalf of the New York City Police Department (BOSSI) were done under duress and fear,” adding that he could have faced “detrimental consequences” if he did not follow the orders of his handlers.
“After witnessing repeated brutality at the hands of my coworkers (Police), I tried to resign,” he wrote. “Instead I was threatened with arrest by pinning marijuana and alcohol trafficking charges on me if I did not follow through with the assignments.”
Wood wrote that, as he faced failing health, he was concerned that the family of Thomas Johnson, one of the men convicted of killing Malcolm X, would not be able to exonerate him after Wood died. Johnson was arrested at the Audubon Ballroom the night Malcolm X was killed to protect Wood’s cover and “the secrets of the FBI and NYPD,” Wood wrote.
Wood placed his full confession into the care of his cousin, Reginald Wood Jr., and requested that the information be held until after his death.
“It is my hope that this information is received with the understanding that I have carried these secrets with a heavy heart and remorsefully regret my participation in this matter,” Wood wrote.
Wood’s cousin, who wrote the book “The Ray Wood Story,” published earlier this month, described Wood to “Good Morning America” as a “good man that was tricked and forced to betray his own people.”
“And he felt ill and remorse for that,” Reggie Wood said.