Civil Rights leader Malcolm X was assassinated at age 39 while speaking at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, New York, on Feb. 21, 1965. Yet to this day the entire story behind his murder has yet to be unfolded.
What is known is that for the majority of his activist life, he was under government surveillance. In February, his family announced plans to sue the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Police Department, and CIA for $100 million, claiming they concealed evidence related to his murder.
When in 2021, two men who were convicted of murdering Malcolm X in 1966 were exonerated after serving decades in prison, the New York District Attorney admitted that the FBI and NYPD at the time withheld evidence, Time reported.
“For years, our family has fought for the truth to come to light concerning his murder,” Ilyasah Shabazz, a daughter of Malcolm X, said at a news conference.
The FBI first opened a file on Malcolm in March 1953 and closely monitored him over the next decade using surveillance and informants, Time reported.
One of the people many suspect had something to do with the assassination was FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who had placed FBI informants at the site where Malcolm X was shot to death.
According to the Manhattan district attorney’s office in 2021, numerous F.B.I. reports were never disclosed to the defense during the trials of the men who were convicted of Malcolm X’s murder, including some that discussed federal informants who were present in the ballroom where Malcolm X was killed. The documents suggest the bureau, on Hoover’s directive, purposely kept information about its informants secret from the local authorities, The New York Times reported.
In 1964, a year before Malcolm X’s death, a document released years ago revealed that Hoover had written to the F.B.I.’s New York office. On June 6, 1964, Hoover sent a telegram, which later became public, to the FBI office in New York City that said, “Do something about Malcolm X.”
Recently uncovered documents, discovered during the Manhattan district attorney’s examination of the trial of the men convicted of the murder, have provided new information. According to a document dated February 25, 1965, the bureau had instructed its local offices not to reveal to the NYPD that any witnesses were federal informants.
FILE – Malcolm X speaks to reporters in Washington on May 16, 1963. The city of New York is settling lawsuits filed on behalf of two men who were exonerated in 2021 for the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X, agreeing to pay $26 million for the wrongful convictions which led to both men spending decades behind bars, according to attorneys for the men Oct. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/File)/F.B.I. director J. Edgar Hoover poses in his office in Washington, D.C., April 30, 1954. (AP Photo/Dan Grossi)