Becoming X – Malcolm Shabazz Story

Malcolm X and his grandson

Malcolm X and his grandson

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A troubled child or next Malcolm X?

The First Male Heir of Malcolm X

For most of her life, Qubilah Shabazz the second of Malcolm X’s six daughters has refused to discuss Malcolm X, avoiding talk of his death with friends and even concealing her own blood lines. But when her baby was born in 1984, the son of an Algerian man she had met in Paris, she named the boy after her father, who was assassinated on Feb. 21, 1965, when she was 4 years old.

Qubilah, Malcolm and Attallah

Qubilah, Malcolm and Attallah

Malcolm Latif Shabazz, moved to the United States with his mother when he was 3 or 4 and lived in California. Malcolm is the first male heir of Malcolm X.

After moved back to the U.S. they were moving around a lot, living in such places as Los Angeles and Brooklyn. His mother drank and she would be asleep and he would be unsupervised. Even though she was educated at Princeton and Sorbonne she took odd jobs at places like Denny’s and IHOP to earn enough to get by.

One landlord remembered frequently having to let young Malcolm into the apartment because his mother was not at home. Malcolm showed some evidence of disturbance as a child. As a three-year-old, he reportedly set fire to his shoes. At age 9, he was institutionalized after he drove his aunt’s car to school.

Young Malcolm

Young Malcolm

During the early 1990s, Malcolm often stayed with his grandmother Betty Shabazz and his aunts in New York, while his mother Qubilah lived with various friends.

Plotting NOI Leader, Louis Farrakhan Assassination

In 1994, Malcolm moved with his mother to Minneapolis. She was reportedly tried to hire a hit man to kill Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader, whom she blamed for her father’s murder. Qubilah was charged and accepted a plea agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, she was required to undergo psychological counseling and treatment for drug and alcohol abuse for a two-year period in order to avoid a prison sentence.

Malcolm and Qubilah Shabazz

Malcolm and Qubilah Shabazz

During that time, ten-year-old Malcolm was sent to live with Betty at her apartment in Yonkers, New York.

Setting a Fire in Betty Shabazz’s Apartment

On June 1, 1997, Malcolm Shabazz, then 12, started a fire in Betty Shabazz’s apartment. She suffered burns over 80 percent of her body and eventually died of her injuries on June 23, 1997 at the age of 63. At a hearing, experts described Malcolm as psychotic and schizophrenic. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in juvenile detention for manslaughter and arson, with possible annual extensions until his 18th birthday. He later told that he just wanted to be with his mother. His logic was if he started to act out they would send him out to his mother.

1997

1997

After serving four years for arson and manslaughter charges for the fire, Malcolm pleaded guilty to attempted robbery in 2002. He served three and a half years in prison for that crime and then went back to prison months after his release for punching a hole in a store window. He often portrayed in media accounts as disturbed.

ID

ID

According to Malcolm, when he was 17 he was at a party in Middletown, New York. There was a gang member and a drug dealer who tried to rape a 12-year-old girl. He defended the girl, resulting in an altercation taking place. When he went to court, they didn’t let the girl testify because she was underage so her testimony wasn’t admissible. So he was facing all these charges, kidnapping, burglary, robbery and possession of a weapon, total 56 years! They gave him a plea bargain of two and half years.

Released from Attica, NY in 2008

Released from Attica, NY in 2008

Like his grandfather, Malcolm X, he spent time on the streets and in jail. Like his grandfather, it was behind bars that he finally regained his faith and found himself fully immersed in Islam. While in Attica Correctional Facility in New York, Malcolm Shabazz met another prisoner, half Mexican half Iranian who identified himself as a Shia Muslim. This was the man who discussed and poured over religious texts with him during their time together, and the one who inspired him to convert from the Sunni sect to Shia.

2011 Malcolm and Qaddafi

2011 Malcolm and Qaddafi

African Unity

After he was released from Attica in 2008, he went to Qatar with his aunt Ilyasah (Malcolm X’s third daughter) for a Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow conference. He made a lot of contact in Muslim world. Then he moved to Damascus Syria to study Islam for a year. He also traveled to Dubai, Lebanon, Jordan, France and Germany to speak on social political issues, education, and racial discrimination.

Malcolm X College, Chicago

Malcolm X College, Chicago

Malcolm Shabazz, now Hajj Malcolm Shabazz was getting ready to travel to Tehran, Iran to participate the International Fajr Film Festival. He was picked up by authorities after he filed for a visa to Iran. Malcolm was officially under FBI surveillance.

Death

Malcolm X’s grandson Malcolm Shabazz died in Mexico City, Mexico, during the morning hours of Thursday, May 9, 2013, after he was severely beaten up and assaulted over a $1200 bar tab for drinks and female companionship at a bar in the vicinity of Plaza Garibaldi. He was 28.

Palace Club, Mexico City

Palace Club, Mexico City

Why did he go to Mexico? Malcolm Latif Shabazz, the 28-year-old grandson of Malcolm X, crossed the border from California into Tijuana in early May for two reasons. His labor-activist friend, Miguel Suarez, had just been deported from the Bay Area, and Malcolm wanted to offer moral support and eventually get him back to California.

Map

Map

Malcolm was also running from himself. Back in the United States, he had bounced from one arrest to another for various misdeeds like public drunkenness, marijuana possession, and petty larceny. The trip south, he hoped, would provide refuge and anonymity from his troubled history and inspire him to overcome his own doubts about whether he could live up to his legacy as the first male heir to one of the fiercest crusaders for African American rights in US history.

On a two-day bus ride from Tijuana to the country’s capital, Malcolm and Miguel swapped tales, took in the scenery, and sampled street food at the tiny towns along the route. They conjured up a grandiose plan to unite black and brown people across the US and Latin America by connecting Mexico’s African heritage with Malcolm X’s message of self-defense and human rights.

Malcolm and Miguel, in other words, had big dreams. They wanted to climb the Teotihuacan pyramids outside the capital and explore the African Mexican communities of Veracruz state. They had even planned to hop over to Cuba, hang out with fugitive and former Black Panther Assata Shakur, and maybe even pay a visit to Fidel Castro.

Juan Ruiz, Malcolm Shabazz, Miguel Suárez

Juan Ruiz, Malcolm Shabazz, Miguel Suárez

But they only made it as far as the Plaza Garibaldi, a hustler’s hunting ground in the center of Mexico City where mariachis tantalize tourists with music and prostitutes scout for johns. On May 8, 2013, the day after their arrival, they followed a couple of beautiful women into a seedy bar called the Palace Club. Something went terribly wrong: Malcolm’s near lifeless body was discovered on the sidewalk, and within several hours he was dead.

Hajj Malcolm Shabazz

Hajj Malcolm Shabazz

The life of Hajj Malcolm Shabazz was cut short at 28 years old.

R.I.P

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