Malikah Shabazz, one of the youngest daughters of the assassinated African-American Muslim civil rights leader, Malcolm X and his wife Betty Shabazz, was found dead in her Brooklyn home, police said.
According to the New York Police Department (NYDP), Shabazz, 56, was found unresponsive by her 23-year-old daughter on the floor of her living room in their Midwood apartment in Brooklyn on Monday 22 November. Police responded to a 911 call at around 4:30pm and emergency services were dispatched to the scene. The death appears to be due to natural causes.
NYPD Commissioner, Dermot Shea, said: “At this point in time, working with other authorities, the medical examiner, and speaking to the family, she had been ill for a period of time, and at this point, nothing appears suspicious following initial review.”
Bernice King, daughter of the civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, tweeted her condolences saying: “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 Shabazz was pregnant with Malikah and her twin sister, Malaak, when Brother Malcolm was assassinated. Be at peace, Malikah.”
Shabazz was the youngest of Malcolm’s six daughters. She and her twin sister, Malaak, were born just after their father was assassinated on 21 February 1965 at the age of 39. Betty Shabazz, their mother, was pregnant with the twins at the time of Malcolm’s assassination.
Malcolm X was born as Malcolm Little, but changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam. He parted ways from the Nation and converted to mainstream Sunni Islam in the 1960s and subsequently performed Hajj, the obligatory Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah. Malcolm changed his name again to Malik el-Shabazz; however, he continues to be widely referred to as Malcolm X.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio offered his condolences stating: “This family has been through hell over and over again, and there’s some horrible injustice to someone who ultimately did so much good for the world.”
Shabazz’s death came just four days after two of the men who were wrongfully convicted for the murder of Malcolm X, were finally exonerated by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. The attorney made a public apology to the families in court.
He said: “I apologise for what were serious, unacceptable violations of the law and the public trust.
I apologise on behalf of our nation’s law enforcement for this decades-long injustice, which has eroded public faith in institutions that are designed to guarantee the equal protection of the law.”