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Malcolm X’s daughter found dead in Brooklyn home

Shabazz’s death comes one week after two men convicted in 1966 of her father’s murder were exonerated

November 23, 2021 1:09pm

Updated: November 23, 2021 3:25pm

Malikah Shabazz, daughter of civil rights icon Malcolm X, was found dead in Brooklyn, NY on Monday afternoon. 

Shabazz, 56, was found unconscious and unresponsive inside her home, and was later pronounced dead. A cause of death has yet to be determined, but the city’s medical examiner did not find anything suspicious on the scene. 

Bernice King, the youngest child of fellow civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., reacted on Twitter where she said, "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.” 

“Dr. [Betty] Shabazz was pregnant with Malikah and her twin sister, Malaak, when Brother Malcolm was assassinated. Be at peace, Malikah,” King continued. 

Malcolm X rose to prominence as an outspoken advocate for Black empowerment and self-determination. His support for the separation of black people from white people put him at odds with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the mainstream civil rights movement’s emphasis on racial integration. 

Malikah Shabazz and her twin sister Malaak are the youngest of six children. Her parents married in 1958 after meeting at a Nation of Islam temple in New York City, but left the organization in 1964 after its leader, Elijah Muhammad, attempted to justify sexual misbehavior with the organization’s young secretaries through scripture. Malcolm X’s stances softened after his departure, even expressing willingness to work with leaders of the civil rights movement. 

Tensions escalated between Malcolm X and the Nation over the following year until he was assassinated on February 19, 1965. Malikah and Malaak were born seven months after his murder, and Betty Shabazz pursued advanced degrees to better provide for her children as a single mother. 

Shabazz’s death comes one week after two men convicted in 1966 of her father’s murder were exonerated. 

She has had several run-ins with law enforcement in the past, including a 2017 arrest where she and her daughter were charged with stealing a truck that contained seven pit bulls found subjected to “inhumane conditions.”