Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965. Before his death, there was tension in the streets of New York City involving the Nation of Islam, former NOI member Malcolm X, and the various offshoots of the NOI, such as Clarence 13X’s Five Percent Nation. Malcolm left the Nation in March 1964.
Malcolm X was gunned down onstage by three men as he prepared to speak at New York’s Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. He was 39. NOI member Talmadge Haye confessed in court to being one of three assassins. Two of the men, also NOI members, arrested at the time for his murder have since been exonerated.
The 5 Percenter Nation of Gods and Earths was founded by former Nation of Islam member Clarence 13X back in 1964. There have been different reports as to why Clarence 13X left the NOI, during which time he worshiped at the same Temple Number Seven where Malcolm X preached. Some say Clarence 13X left because he was caught gambling. Others say he did not agree with the NOI’s ban on gambling, drugs, and alcohol.
Clarence 13X, the father of the Five Percenters, had lots to say about Malcolm X’s mistakes before his assassination. Here are five things to know.
For the book “The Name Of Allah: A History of Clarence 13X and The Five Percenters,” written in 2009 by Wakeel Allah, a member of the NOI, he interviewed people involved in the Five Percent Nation, such as Rasul Hebekah. Rasul Hebekah (or Rasul Rasul Rafiq or Ebeka) was one of the elders of the 5 Percent nation.
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And according to Hebekah, Clarence 13X (also known as Allah), had talked about Malcolm X, although the two were not close.
Hebekah remembered Allah discussing Malcolm X. “I know he didn’t like Malcolm that tough, they wasn’t that great of friends,” Hebekah shared.
According to Hebekah, Clarence 13X said, “‘Malcolm was making some mistakes that a man with street sense doesn’t make. You cannot have a man with that kind of people following him, as dangerous as these people are, you cannot just get up and say what you want to say. I don’t care whether you right or owners.”
Hebekah recalled what Clarence 13X said about Malcolm X choosing the wrong time to go against the NOI. Clarence 13X said, as per Hebekah, “There is a time and a place. His timing is wrong and the place is wrong.”
The fallout between Malcolm X and NOI leader Elijah Muhammad has far-reaching ramifications.
Hebekah, told Wakeel Allah, “You know. the Nation said this, Malcolm said that. They just tore everything up…It even affected us, the Five Percenters. Brothers began to take sides.”
In January 1964, the Nation of Islam issued a gag order on Malcolm X after Malcolm X made controversial remarks about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. “Malcolm readily accepted his sentence,” noted Hebekah. But when boxing champ Malcolm X invited Malcolm X to his training camp where he was preparing for his bout with Sonny Liston, Malcolm X took questions from the press. “This was not complying with the terms of his gag order or his current isolation,” Hebekah said.
According to Hebekah, he and Clarence 1X advised Malcolm X before the end of his life to settle his disagreement with Elijah Muhammad. But this never happened.
Portrait of Clarence 13X hanging in the Allah School, located in Harlem/ Malcolm X in Washington, D.C., May 16, 1963. Two of the three men convicted in the assassination of Malcolm X are set to be cleared Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, after insisting on their innocence since the 1965 killing of one of the United States’ most formidable fighters for civil rights, Manhattan’s top prosecutor said Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2021. (AP Photo, File)