Showing posts with label Malcolm X. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Malcolm X. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Witness says he has new information about Malcolm X assassination

Attorneys representing the family of Malcolm X revealed what they call a star witness Tuesday in their ongoing legal pursuits related to his assassination in 1965.

The witness said he had new information he could provide, all these years later.

Sunday, November 06, 2022

Sword and the Shield: Dual biography of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King

This “landmark” dual biography of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King transforms our understanding of the twentieth century’s most iconic African American leaders. (Ibram X. Kendi)

To most Americans, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. represent contrasting ideals: self-defense versus nonviolence, Black Power versus civil rights, the sword versus the shield. The struggle for Black freedom is wrought with the same contrasts. While nonviolent direct action is remembered as an unassailable part of American democracy, the movement’s militancy is either vilified or erased outright.

In The Sword and the Shield, Peniel E. Joseph upends these misconceptions and reveals a nuanced portrait of two men who, despite markedly different backgrounds, inspired and pushed each other throughout their adult lives. Now updated with a new afterword, this is a strikingly revisionist account of Malcolm and Martin, the era they defined, and their lasting impact on today’s Movement for Black Lives.


Paperback *******Kindle Edition

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Man wrongfully convicted in Malcolm X's assassination sues NYC for $40 million

A man wrongfully convicted in the 1965 killing of Malcolm X filed a $40 million lawsuit against New York City.

Muhammad Aziz called his conviction “the result of a process that was corrupt to its core — one that is all too familiar.” He was cleared in 2021 after an investigation that lasted nearly two years. The the late Khalil Islam was also cleared in the investigation.

“As someone who has fought for a fairer criminal justice system for my entire career, I believe the overturning of Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam’s convictions was the just outcome,” Mayor Eric Adams said. “We are reviewing the lawsuit.”

Aziz, Islam and a third man, Mujahid Abdul Halim — also known as Talmadge Hayer and Thomas Hagan — were convicted of murder in March 1966 and sentenced to life in prison.

Hagan said he was one of three gunmen who shot Malcolm X, but he testified that neither Aziz nor Islam was involved. The two, then known as Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson, maintained throughout that they were innocent and offered alibis at their 1966 trial. No physical evidence linked them to the crime.

“Thomas 15 Johnson and Norman 3X Butler had nothing to do with this crime whatsoever,” Hagan said in a sworn statement in 1977.


Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Malcolm X nominated again for Nebraska Hall of Fame

Fifteen years ago, Omaha native and human rights activist Malcolm X was deemed too controversial to be added to the Nebraska Hall of Fame.

Now supporters are trying again to get him included among recognized Nebraska greats and to have his bust join 26 others in the State Capitol.

JoAnna LeFlore-Ejike, a board member with the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, submitted one of two nominations to the Nebraska Hall of Fame for the man who was born in 1925 as Malcolm Little. She said he deserves consideration as "one of the greatest and most influential African-Americans in history."

"It’s important for us, the city of Omaha, to have an opportunity to support the legacy of Malcolm’s birth here," she said. "It encourages the rest of the state to know about the true civil rights history of Omaha."

The Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission will hold public hearings in each of the three congressional districts, starting next week, to take testimony about the nominees.

Under state law, to be included in the Hall of Fame, people must have been born in Nebraska, gained prominence while living in Nebraska or have lived in the state and their residence in the state be an important influence on their lives and contributed to their greatness.

In addition, at least 35 years must pass between a person's death and the date he or she is officially named as a member. Lawmakers added the requirement to ensure that a person's accomplishments stood the test of time.

Secondary consideration is given to people involved in "entertainment, athletics or fields of endeavor where interest, publicity, and general recognition may for a time be intense, but where a contribution to society is secondary."

The commission is slated to meet in August to narrow the field of nominees, then decide on Sept. 12 who should become the newest Hall of Fame member. That finalist will be officially inducted in 2025.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Exoneration of Muhammad A. Aziz Lead to Civil Actions Against the State and City of New York

The David B. Shanies Law Office ("Shanies Law") announced today the filing of a civil claim against the State of New York and "notice of claim" against the City of New York on behalf of Muhammad A. Aziz, the innocent man whose wrongful conviction for the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X was vacated on November 18, 2021 by the New York State Supreme Court. In the action against the State, filed in the New York Court of Claims, Mr. Aziz seeks compensation under a State law that entitles individuals who were unjustly convicted and imprisoned to recover damages. 

Mr. Aziz simultaneously filed a "notice of claim" against the City of New York and numerous named individuals, seeking legal redress for the civil rights violations and other outrageous government misconduct that caused his wrongful conviction. Similar actions on behalf of the Estate of Khalil Islam are expected to follow shortly.

For decades, it has been widely acknowledged by Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, historians, scholars, political leaders, and others that Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam are innocent. Also for decades, including immediately after the assassination of Malcolm X, the NYPD and FBI were in possession of evidence that not only proved Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam's innocence, but also identified Malcolm X's true killers. "As a result of his wrongful conviction and imprisonment," the lawsuit against the State reads, "Mr. Aziz spent 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit and more than 55 years living with the hardship and indignity attendant to being unjustly branded as a convicted murderer of one of the most important civil rights leaders in history."

"While I do not dwell on what my life might have been like had this travesty of justice never occurred, the deep and lasting trauma it caused cannot be overstated. The more than 20 years that I spent in prison were stolen from me and my family, and while the official record now recognizes the truth that has been known for decades, nothing can undo the damage that my wrongful conviction caused to all of us," said Mr. Aziz. "Those responsible for depriving me of my liberty and for depriving my family of a husband, a father, and a grandfather should be held accountable."

At his exoneration hearing last month, Mr. Aziz expressed to the court his hope that "the same system that was responsible for this travesty of justice also takes responsibility for the immeasurable harm it caused" for nearly 56 years.

In vacating Mr. Aziz's conviction and dismissing all charges against him, Supreme Court Justice Ellen Biben remarked, "I regret that this Court cannot fully undo the serious miscarriages of justice in this case and give you back the many years that were lost. Dismissal of the indictment is the full extent of this Court's authority."

"New York's Unjust Conviction and Imprisonment Act was passed for the purpose of providing compensation to help unjustly imprisoned individuals put their lives back together," said David B. Shanies. "Both federal and state law likewise provide recourse against police officers and other government agents whose misconduct has caused an individual's wrongful conviction and imprisonment. Tragically, Mr. Islam will never have the opportunity to rebuild his life and hold accountable the men who destroyed it. Mr. Aziz, who was sentenced to life in prison at the age of 27, is now an 83-year-old man. With the filing of these claims, we urgently call on Attorney General Letitia James and the New York City Comptroller to fulfill their moral obligations to these men and their families and to do so swiftly. After more than 55 years living under this cloud, Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam should not have to wait a second longer for justice to be done."


In 1965, Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam were arrested and charged with the murder of Malcolm X, who was ambushed and fatally shot by a group of men in the Audubon Ballroom in New York. No physical evidence ever implicated Mr. Aziz or Mr. Islam in the murder. Furthermore, both men had alibis – each was at home with his respective family at the time of Malcolm X's murder. At trial, a third man, Mujahid Abdul Halim, who was caught and arrested at the scene, admitted his role in the murder and affirmed that Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam had nothing to do with the crime.

Despite the significant weaknesses in the cases against them, Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam were convicted alongside Mr. Halim in 1966 and sentenced to life in prison. Throughout the trial, the NYPD and FBI concealed a trove of documents and information that demonstrated Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam's innocence and identified the true assassins – all men from New Jersey who were affiliated with Nation of Islam mosques in Newark and Paterson.

In 1977, 11 years after being sentenced to life in prison, Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam moved to vacate their convictions. The motion was predicated in part on two sworn affidavits from Mr. Halim, who further affirmed Mr. Aziz's and Mr. Islam's innocence by disclosing the identities of his true co-conspirators. Mr. Halim described in detail the murder plot and each assassin's role, including identifying the other killers as William "X" (whose last name he later confirmed was "Bradley") and Leon Davis, and identifying Benjamin Thomas as one of the planners of the assassination.  Despite this monumental revelation, the motion to vacate was denied, and Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam continued to serve their life sentences.

Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam were paroled in 1985 and 1987, respectively, following a collective 42 years spent in prison. Mr. Islam passed away in 2009.

In January 2020New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance agreed to undertake a collaborative reinvestigation of the case alongside Shanies Law and the Innocence Project. The two-year effort unearthed new evidence of Mr. Aziz's and Mr. Islam's innocence, including FBI and NYPD documents that had been available at the time of trial but were withheld from both the defense and prosecution. The joint investigation revealed that this evidence would likely have led to an acquittal at trial. As a result, Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam were exonerated on November 18, 2021, following the filing of a joint motion to vacate their convictions and dismiss the indictment against them. At the exoneration hearing, Mr. Vance expressly noted that "there is only one ultimate conclusion; Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam were wrongfully convicted of this crime."

A copy of Mr. Aziz's claim against the State, which was filed today with the New York State Court of Claims, is available here. A copy of his notice of claim against the City and the individual NYPD officers – a prerequisite for filing a lawsuit against the City – is available here. A parallel claim and notice of claim on behalf of the Estate of Khalil Islam will be filed in the coming days.

Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam are represented by David Shanies and Deborah Francois of the David B. Shanies Law Office.

For more information about Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam and the history of their wrongful convictions, please visit

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Blood Brothers | Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali Official Trailer

Blood Brothers tells the extraordinary and ultimately tragic story of the friendship between two of the most iconic figures of the 20th century: Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all time, and Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam’s - and black America’s - most incendiary and charismatic leader.

This was the unlikeliest of friendships - the brash Olympic Champion who spoke in verse to the amusement of the white press and the ex-con intellectual-turned-revolutionary who railed against the evils of white oppression and dismissed sports as a triviality. But their bond was deep, their friendship real.

Blood Brothers premieres Sept. 9 on Netflix.


Friday, November 27, 2020

The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X Wins 2020 National book Award

Tamara Payne and her late father Les Payne’s Malcolm X biography, “The Dead Are Arising,” has won the National Book Award for nonfiction.

Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly 30-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm X. His goal was ambitious: to transform what would become dozens of interviews into an unprecedented portrait of Malcolm X, one that would separate fact from fiction. Introduced by Payne’s daughter and primary researcher, Tamara Payne, The Dead Are Arising is a riveting work that affirms the centrality of Malcolm X to the African American freedom struggle.

The award for “The Dead Are Arising” is the second time in a decade a Malcolm X biography has received a high honor for nonfiction and the second time the honor was, at least in part, posthumous.

Scholar Manning Marable died right before the 2011 publication of “Malcolm X,” which went on to win a Pulitzer Prize and receive a National Book Award nomination. Les Payne died in 2018 before he could finish the book. His daughter, Tamara Payne a researcher, finished the book.

“This is such a bittersweet moment,” Tamara Payne said upon accepting the award at the Nov. 18 ceremony that was streamed online because of the pandemic, with presenters and winners speaking everywhere from New York to Japan. “I really wish my father was here for this.”

Winners in each of the competitive categories receive $10,000.