Gone To Soon: Violent Death Of Malcolm Shabazz Who Was Carrying Malcolm X's Torch

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[Malcolm Shabazz Tragedy]

Ten days before his grandfather Malcolm X's 88th birthday, Malcolm Lateef Shabazz was killed in Mexico City on Thursday morning, May 9, at the age of 28, according to several media accounts.

The Amsterdam News reported his death Thursday. The family confirmed the death in a statement Friday.

The circumstances surrounding his death are not fully grasped. He reportedly met a violent end in a Mexico City bar on Thursday after an apparent beating, according to an individual who was with him and says he himself escaped from a man who held him at gunpoint.

The individual is identified as labor activist Miguel Suarez, whom Malcolm Shabazz had traveled to meet in Mexico. Suarez, who's with a group called Rumec, organized Mexican construction workers in the U.S. to improve their employment conditions and was deported in April to Mexico, according to media accounts.

Suarez told The Associated Press that he and Malcolm Shabazz had been in a bar at Plaza Garibaldi, a downtown square in Mexico City. He said they were "lured to the bar on Wednesday night by a young woman who made conversation with the American in English" according to the AP's account. The AP said although the Plaza Garibaldi is popular with tourists "the pair were at a bar across the street from the plaza in an area of rough dive bars tourists are warned against going to."

"We were dancing with the girls and drinking," Suarez, told the AP, and added that the owner of the bar wanted them to pay a $1,200 bar tab, for music, drinks and the girls' companionship.

"We pretty much got hassled," the AP quotes Suarez as saying. Suarez said a "short dude came with a gun" and took him to a separate room.

"Suarez said he heard a violent commotion in the hall and escaped from the room and the bar altogether as he saw half-naked girls running away, picking up their skirts from the dance floor," according to the AP's account. "Minutes later, Suarez came back in a cab to look for Shabazz and found him on the ground outside the bar severely injured."

"He was in shock. His face was messed up," Suarez is quoted saying by the AP. "He was alive." He's also quoted saying: "I grabbed him, and I called the cops."

Malcolm Shabazz  was then taken to a hospital where he died hours later of blunt-force injuries, according to Suarez's account to the AP.

"Suarez said Shabazz had traveled to Mexico to support him and his movement advocating for more rights for construction workers. He crossed the border from San Diego to Tijuana with Suarez's mother and then the pair took a bus all the way to Mexico City," according to the AP account.

Malcolm L. Shabazz was born in 1984 in Paris, France to an Algerian Muslim father. His mother, a former student at Princeton University and later at the Sorbonne in Paris, Qubilah Shabazz, is the second child of  Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz.

Just barely four years of age on February 14, 1965, Qubilah woke up Malcolm X and the rest of the family when their home was set ablaze by Muslim arsonists.  A week after the arson, Qubilah witnessed the horrific assassination of her father on February 21, 1965 at the Audubon Ballroom.

Family tragedy has haunted the family for a long time, as award-winning journalist Herb Boyd points out in an excellent commentary on The Daily Beast.

In 1929, at the age of four, Malcolm X’s family home in Lansing, Michigan was destroyed by White supremacist arsonists.  On September 28, 1931, at the age of six, Malcolm X himself was deprived of a strong male parental figure when his father Earl Little was ferociously abused physically and then murdered by White supremacists. His disfigured body was found near some trolley tracks.

In 1934, Malcolm’s young life was further impaired by a racist system which institutionalized his only support system, his loving mother Louise Little who was also a dedicated Garveyite.

Malcolm X, became a victim of a backward family court judicial proceeding and an uncaring foster care system that still exist today for many Black families. Due to the deliberate disbandment of his family, a young Malcolm X soon became incarcerated.

Yet, he later managed to turn his life around after he embraced the Nation of Islam and Elijah Muhammad. He became a brilliant orator, strategist, and renowned freedom fighters in this country.

Like his grandfather, Malcolm Shabazz, who endured many hardships and challenges also eventually found his true self-worth and purpose in life. He worked hard to overcome his troubled youth and the 1997 tragedy when he was convicted of the arson fire that killed Dr. Betty Shabazz, his grandmother and Malcolm X's widow.

More recently, he transmitted his powerful message abroad and met with progressive international figures.  For example, Malcolm Shabbazz expressed the following on his Facebook posts:

“I have lived & studied in Damascus, Syria for over a year, and now the U.S. is instigating conflict within the very same region. I went on ex-congresswoman/former presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney's delegation along with Dr. Randy Short to Libya, and met with Leader Muammar Gadhafi one week prior to N.A.T.O. intervention and I was most recently getting ready to travel to Tehran, Iran to be a participant of the International Fajr Film Festival and give a lecture addressing the issues of Hollywood and violence:  Modern Violence & Terrorism, provoking clashes between religions & populations. I was picked up by authorities after I filed for a visa to Iran, and 2 days prior to my departure.”

Like his grandfather, Malcolm Shabazz made the Hajj to Mecca in 2010.  A year after his Hajj, Shabbazz decided to enroll at John Jay College and worked diligently as a student to produce his memoirs which are incomplete due to his untimely killing.

He also reported being questioned by the FBI when he applied for  Visa to travel to Iran.

With clairvoyance, both Malcolm X and his grandson predicted their death.  For Malcolm X that revelation came when he was poisoned in Cairo, Egypt in July 1964, and when French authorities barred him from entering Paris on February 9, 1965.  Malcolm X often stated that the plot to assassinate him was bigger than the Nation of Islam and basically implicated the government of the United States for attempts on his life.  His grandson shared similar sentiments.  Case in point, in March 2013, Malcolm Shabbazz expressed the following:

“Prior to my date of departure to Iran, Lifetime television released a television bio-picture called Betty & Coretta which was a sensationalistic misrepresentation of my grandparents, my mother and me. This film aside from being poorly acted, and shallow in depth also threatened to inflame old controversies, and open unhealed wounds and to remind the public of sad outcomes without ever identifying B.O.S.S.I., the C.I.A., F.B.I. and other forces that set the climate for my grandfather’s assassination, and made my family a long-suffering casualty of COINTELPRO, and other anti-Black repression programs. Naturally, anything done to stir up old hatred of The Shabazz Family will impact me as the name-sake, and first male heir of Malcolm X, and whether I am high or low in fortunes does not exempt me from this reality. The formula for a public assassination is: the character assassination before the physical assassination; so one has to be made killable before the eyes of the public in order for their eventual murder to then deemed justifiable. And when the time arrives for these hits to be carried out you’re not going to see a C.I.A. agent with a suit & tie, and a badge that says 'C.I.A.' walk up to someone, and pull the trigger. What they will do is to out-source to local police departments in the region of their target, and to employ those that look like the target of interest to infiltrate the workings in order to set up the environment for the eventual assassination (character, physical/incarceration, exile) to take place.”

For Reggie Mabry, Pan-African activist and organizer of the annual pilgrimage to Malcolm X’s resting site in Ferncliff Cemetery, “Malcolm Shabazz’s death is surreal and right out of the pages of his grandfather’s autobiography where the questionable murder of Malcolm X still haunts us today as evident in the questionable murder of his grandson.”

Due to his reverence for the Shabazz family, the president of the Organization of Afro-American Unity James Small withheld any speculations relating to the murder of Malcolm L. Shabazz. However, James Small disclosed that the funeral arrangement for Malcolm L. Shabazz is scheduled to take place on May 18, 2013 in California – one day before he performs the ceremony at Ferncliff Cemetery to honor Malcolm X.

The Shabazz family released the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved El Hajj Malcolm El Shabazz. To all who knew him, he offered kindness, encouragement and hope for a better tomorrow. Although his bright light and boundless potential are gone from this life, we are grateful that he now rests in peace in the arms of his grandparents and the safety of God. We will miss him. With grateful hearts, we send sincerest appreciation to our supporters around the world for your tremendous outpouring of love and respect during our time of grief.”

Sadly, given the unfortunate history of the Shabazz’s family, Malcolm’s daughters have some serious struggles to surmount with great difficulty and danger. It is with the robust support of the global African community that the Black Star News sends our condolences to the Shabazz family and our full support to the daughters of Malcolm X.

Malcolm L. Shabazz is survived by his two daughters, his mother and aunts. May he rest in peace in the arms of his grandparents.


Professor Patrick Delices is a political analyst/commentator for the Black Star News and the author of “The Digital Economy,” Journal of International Affairs. For nearly a decade, Prof. Delices has taught Africana Studies at Hunter College. He also served as a research fellow for the late Pulitzer Prize recipient, Dr. Manning Marable at Columbia University. 

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