Malcolm X’s daughter Malikah Shabazz was found dead in her home on 22 November 2021, she was the youngest Shabazz sibling along with twin sister Malaak. Interest in the family intensified after two of the men convicted of killing Malcolm X were recently exonerated.
Shabazz was found unconscious and unresponsive by her daughter at about 4.40pm in her Brooklyn home on Monday, 22 November. An autopsy will be carried out to determine cause of death, although foul play isn’t suspected.
Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr, sent her condolences on Twitter writing:
“I’m deeply saddened by the death of #MalikahShabazz. My heart goes out to her family, the descendants of Dr Betty Shabazz and Malcolm X.
“Be at peace, Malikah.”
The 56-year-old is one of Malcolm X’s six daughters, who he shared with wife Betty Shabazz.
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Who are Malikah Shabazz’s siblings?
Malikah has four older sisters and a twin sister: Attallah, born 1958, Qubilah (1960), Ilyasah (1962), Gamilah Lumumba (1964) and twin Malaak.
The name Malikah means ‘queen’, while Malaak’s name translates to ‘angel’. They are feminine versions of Malcolm X’s Arabic name, Malik, and were named in honour of their father who was assassinated before their birth.
In 1999, she published memoir From Mine Eyes: Malcolm X’s Eldest Daughter Shares Her Life. She also has two credits as an actress: a dinner guest in White Man’s Burden, and female panellist in TV movie Brave New World.
She has also featured in many documentaries about her family. Attallah is reportedly married but avoids discussing her private life in public.
Born in 1960, Qubilah studied at Princeton University and later the University Of Paris, where she met an Algerian man who became the father of her son Malcolm. They have since split, although it’s unknown exactly when.
In 1995, the New York Times reported Qubilah was arrested in Minneapolis for attempting to hire a former classmate to kill Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan, who she and her mother Betty accused of being behind Malcolm X’s murder.
Prosecutors dropped the charges against Qubilah in return for her agreement to complete a psychiatric and drug dependency programme.
She wed in December 1996, although the marriage only lasted a month.
While undergoing her psychiatric and drug dependency programme, Qubilah sent her ten-year-old son Malcolm to live with Betty in Yonkers, New York. In June 1997, he accidentally set fire to the apartment. Betty suffered burns covering 80% of her body and died three weeks later.
Ilyasah Shabazz was born 22 July 1962 and is an author and motivational speaker. She wrote memoir Growing Up X, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award For Outstanding Literary Work in 2002.
Ilyasah served as a member of the US Delegation that accompanied Bill Clinton to South Africa to commemorate the election of Nelson Mandela. She currently works to promote higher education for at-risk youths.
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Malaak is a human rights activist and lecturer who works as a representative for the United Nations.
Who is her mother Betty Shabazz?
Betty Dean Sanders was born on 28 May 1934 in Detroit and was an educator and civil rights advocate.
She was sheltered from racism but experienced it first-hand when she attended Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. She initially trained to become a teacher but transitioned into nursing when she decided to study in New York.
There, she met her future husband and joined the Nation of Islam in 1956 – the couple married two years later. She is buried next to Malcolm X at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.
Two men convicted of Malcolm X murder are exonerated
Two of the three men convicted of killing civil rights activist Malcolm X in 1965 were officially exonerated last week, Sky News reports.
Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam were sentenced to life in prison in 1966 for the assassination of Malcolm X, along with Mujahid Abdul Halim. All three were members of the Nation of Islam.
In 2020, Netflix documentary Who Killed Malcolm X? raised enough questions to lead Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance to review the convictions.
Islam died in 2009, but Aziz, now 83, continued to fight to clear his name. The decision to throw out their convictions followed a 22-month investigation.