Malcolm X is idolized in left-leaning circles for good reason — his revolutionary approach to the civil rights movement was inspirational to many. But over time, Malcolm X has been painted as a dangerous radical, which is how I learned about him in high school. The anniversary of his death was on Feb. 21, and there were not many news outlets honoring his legacy. However, on Feb. 21 X’s daughters demanded a new investigation into his assassination. There have always been rumors surrounding the FBI and the deaths of many civil rights leaders, but it’s time to finally get a clear answer.
The daughters of Malcolm X calling for a new investigation based on a letter that has surfaced from former NYPD officer, Raymond Wood. This letter written by former officer Wood, was drafted on his death bed and alleges that the FBI and NYPD were behind the assassination of Malcolm X. Wood’s letter begins by saying, “I was a Black New York City undercover police officer between May of 1964 through May of 1971. I participated in actions that in hindsight were deplorable and detrimental to my own black people … Under the direction of my handlers, I was told to encourage leaders and members of the civil rights groups to commit felonious acts.” He then follows up by saying he was hired by the New York Police Department to join civil rights groups “to find evidence of criminal activity, so the FBI could discredit and arrest its leaders.” There are also many other details in his letter that are deeply horrifying and will need to be followed upon. Wood said that he did not want the letter to be made public until after his death.
Malcolm X’s death has always been a topic of controversy among the civil rights movements, and some of the details are inherently suspicious. One of the men who admitted to killing Malcolm X has alleged that the two other co-conspirators are innocent and maintained his claim throughout the rest of his life. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said last year that he would review the convictions of the two other alleged killers. The Innocence Project is also currently working to clear the names of the two men which supposedly caused Vance to reopen the case. The NYPD has pushed back hard against these claims saying that it “has provided all available records relevant to the case to the district attorney. The department remains committed to assist with that review in any way.”
While these claims are currently uncorroborated, these claims must be investigated. Even though Malcolm X’s killers are already deceased, if these government organizations were orchestrated in an attempt to discredit, incriminate or assassinate an important leader of the civil rights movement, we must bring them to justice. While Vance looking into the evidence is a step in the right direction, there must be a full investigation conducted by the justice department. This investigation must be transparent and independent as well, as it will increase confidence in the findings.