Check It Out: Netflix’s “Who Killed Malcolm X?”



In some of the coverage generated by this new documentary series, attention is focused on the wrongful conviction of two of the three people for murdering Malcolm X.  This unfolding effort to set the record straight is one important upshot of decades of digging to uncover the truth of Malcolm X’s assassination by an activist, amateur historian Abdur-Rahman Muhammad.  The series is disturbing in bringing out that there was no real investigation, just a quick legal railroad.  It asks why people's attorney William Kunstler’s efforts to re-open it were shut down when there were gaping holes in the case.  As important as this is there is much, much more to this series.   

David Garrow, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference appears in the documentary collaborating with and validating Muhammad, as the person who has become the preeminent expert on Malcolm’s murder.  The series probes why there has never been a serious investigation to get to the truth; the intensity of the assault and character assassination of Malcolm from the Nation of Islam and the FBI and NYPD; Malcolm's split with the conservatism of the Nation of Islam and Elijah Muhammad; the role of the FBI and the NYPD “Red Squad” in fomenting and focusing on taking out Malcolm X in the period leading up to his being gunned down.  In the series a retired Red Squad (aka Bureau of Special Services—BOSS) pig brags about how they recruited an undercover agent who had no connection to the NYPD—not a single relative in the police department—to place in and head up Malcolm’s security detail leading up to his murder. 

The documentary series dramatizes and fleshes out this article printed in 2015 on the 50th anniversary of Malcolm’s murder. In light of the Netflix series it is a "must read." And for anyone who watches the series and who cares about getting beyond the madness and horror of this world, read (and re-read) the article “Watching Fruitvale Station with BA.”

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This article was originally published in 2014. We believe that it is particularly timely now to either return to this or, for those who have not read it before, to read it for the first time.

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