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Malikah Shabazz, one of six daughters of slain civil rights leader Malcolm X, was found dead in her home in New York City, police said Tuesday. She was 56.
A police spokesperson claimed her death inside her Brooklyn home appeared to be from natural causes.
Malikah and her twin sister, Malaak, were the youngest daughters of Malcolm X, who was assassinated on Feb. 21, 1965. One of the most vocal civil rights leaders for Black empowerment, Malcolm X’s legacy remains relevant more than half a century after his death. Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, his life experiences eventually led him to challenging the racist caste system that had long been the status quote. One of his most famous speeches, the Ballot or the Bullet, summed up struggle for a people to recognize their own self-worth.
“…and there was nothing more bloody then the American Revolution. But today this country can become involved in a revolution that won’t take bloodshed. All she’s got to do is give the black man in this country everything that’s due him — everything,” Malcolm X said in 1964.
Though he went on to eventually adopt many of the nonviolent tenants popularized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his assassination a year later in the Audobon Ballroom confirmed what Black people in America had come to know as fact: Black civil rights leaders are primary targets.
Daughter of Dr. King offers condolences
Malikah’s mother, Betty Shabazz, was pregnant with the twins when their father was killed. Meanwhile, Malikah Shabazz’s death comes days after two of the three men who had been convicted of killing Malcolm X were exonerated.
A Manhattan judge dismissed the convictions of Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam after prosecutors and the men’s lawyers said a renewed investigation found new evidence that undermined the case against them.
Bernice King, a daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., said on Twitter, “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.”
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)