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Malcolm X: Why there are still questions about the activist’s death

By Meghan Pryce

Published February 21, 2020

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Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965. Fifty five years ago, he took the stage for a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in New York. Shots rang out shortly after and Malcolm X was dead.

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The Netflix docuseries "Who Killed Malcolm X," featuring historian Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, dives deep into Malcolm’s life and his fallout with the Nation of Islam.

Here are some of the questions highlighted in the series.

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Were the right people caught?

Nation of Islam members Mujahid Abdul Halim, Muhammad Abdul Aziz (pictured) and Khalil Islam were convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1966 for the murder.

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Aziz and Islam maintained their innocence for years while Halim admitted that he took part in the assassination. Islam died in 2009.

Aziz was released on parole in 1985. But he is still trying to clear his name, with there being no physical evidence linking him or Islam to the murder, according to the Innocence Project.

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Was he properly protected?

The series notes the lack of police and security presence during Malcolm’s speech that day, despite the fact that he received threats and his home had been firebombed.

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Why wasn’t the crime scene secured?

The crime scene at the Audubon Ballroom wasn’t preserved. In fact, it was cleaned up later that night for a dance, according to the documentary.

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What about the Nation of Islam?

Malcolm X quickly rose within the Nation of Islam, becoming a prominent speaker. After Malcolm publicly left the movement, it caused a rift among members and with leader Elijah Muhammad.

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Was the FBI involved?

The series explains how Malcolm X's rising political power was viewed as a threat by the government. He was also under surveillance by law enforcement.

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Since the airing of the series, the Manhattan district attorney's office says it is reviewing the case after new information has come to light.

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