Hundreds Gather on 50th Anniversary of Malcom X's Death
Saturday was the 50th anniversary of Malcom X's assassination. Approximately 300 people gathered for a ceremony at the site in Washington Heights where the activist was killed. NY1’s Mahsa Saeidi filed this story.
50 years later, Ilyasah Shabazz leads a moment of silence to commemorate her father's assassination.
"I love my father, I can't tell you how much I love him," said Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcom X. "He was one of the greatest human rights activists of our time, one of the greatest politician strategists."
On Saturday, they remembered him at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, formerly the Audobon Ballroom.
"I was one of the last 4 or 5 people to speak with him on February 21st 1965 backstage," said author A. Peter Bailey. "I heard brother Malcolm say alsalam malakoom, the next thing I heard were the shots. His shirt was open and I saw all these bullet holes in his body."
This blue light marks the exact spot where Malcolm X was standing at the podium when three gunmen opened fire, cutting short his life of activism. He was just 39-years-old.
Supporters say Malcolm X's legacy is alive everywhere, including the streets of Upper Manhattan, where he recruited many with his message of social justice. A message, they say, resonates today amidst the current state of police-community relations.
"I think he would be pleased with this generation being able to organize, but I think he would challenge us even further that we must have solutions," said Shabazz.
"Malcolm X has certainly inspired me, not only in my day to day life but as an artist and activists, just to really honestly be and do the best I can absolutely can," said performer Sharisse Stancil-Ashford.
Malcolm X was also seen as a controversial figure, but supporters say he was a product of his time.
"I think we should understand the social climate and that often times when he was on camera he was reacting to the violence that was perpetrated against his people," said Shabazz.
"Brother Malcolm was trying to internationalize the movement, that's why he called it a human rights movement rather than a civil rights movement," said Bailey.