Watch CBS News

Malcolm X's daughter on her father's assassination: "We wanted to ensure that the truth is uncovered"

New evidence in Malcolm X death investigation
Deathbed letter from former officer alleges NYPD, FBI link to Malcolm X assassination 07:49

For decades, there have been questions around the circumstances of civil rights leader Malcolm X's death. He was assassinated on Feb. 21, 1965, in New York's Audubon Ballroom. Three members of the Nation of Islam were arrested and convicted in the shooting.

But a letter recently given to Malcolm X's daughters raises questions about the details surrounding the killing.

Raymond Wood, a former undercover NYPD officer, left a letter to his cousin, Reginald Wood Jr., in 2011. The letter was to be released upon Raymond Wood's death. When he died in November, his family started the process of making the letter public. In it, Wood claims he was coerced by his New York City Police Department supervisors to lure members of Malcolm X's security detail into committing crimes that resulted in the FBI arresting them days before the shooting.

"There was no security to prevent the gunman from coming into the building," Woods Jr. said.

At the same location where Malcolm X was assassinated, Woods held a press conference on Saturday with members of Malcolm X's family and civil rights attorney Ben Crump to release details of the letter to the public. In her first interview since the letter became public, Malcolm X's daughter Ilyasah Shabazz told "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King that she thought of her father and the impact he left behind when she first saw the letter.

"It made us think of our father who was just in his twenties when he burst on to the scene of the civil rights movement and 39, when he was gunned down when he was assassinated in 1965," she said. "He gave the biggest critique of America, and he wanted America to live up to her promise of liberty and justice for all. And we have seen historically the injustice against Black Americans primarily, and my father worked diligently to ensure the end of this senseless brutality."

The letter alleges the guards' arrests were part of a conspiracy between the NYPD and FBI to have Malcolm X killed — something Shabazz and her family have speculated about for years

"I can say I was surprised because I was caught off guard, but it's something that my family and many always wondered. But most importantly, we wanted to ensure that the truth is uncovered," she said.

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance started reviewing the convictions of the three men last year following the release of the Netflix documentary "Who Killed Malcolm X?"

Both the NYPD and FBI, have released statements declaring that they have turned over all their relevant records to the district attorney and will cooperate with the review.

Shabazz said while there is uncertainty surrounding her father's death, his legacy continues to live.

"Young people were politicized this summer when they witnessed the death of George Floyd. I think that many people are now turning to Malcolm because they realize that Malcolm had a profound reaction to these horrific injustices that continue to occur even today," she said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.