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Betty Shabazz was an American Civil Rights activist.
She became a powerful voice in the Civil Rights movement
following the assassination of her husband, Malcolm X,
in 1965. He was assassinated by rival Black Muslims
with ties to the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan.
After her husband's assassination, Shabazz
focused on raising her six daughters and
continued her education. Betty was a registered
nurse, and later, an educator at Medgar Evers
College, City University of New York, in
Brooklyn, New York. She remained a private
person, but along the way, made occasional
appearances on behalf of Civil Rights,
helping to keep Malcolm's name and message
There had been a 30-year rift between Dr. Shabazz
and Rev. Farrakhan, whom Shabazz believed played
a role in her husband's assassination. In 1994,
she spoke out publicly for the first time against
the Nation of Islam and linked its leader, Louis
Farrakhan, to her husband's death. Shabazz was
steadfast in her conviction about the role she
believed they played in his assassination until
1995. That year, her daughter, Qubilah, was arrested
for trying to hire a hit man to kill Farrakhan.
Reverend Farrakhan actually arranged a fundraiser
to help pay for her legal defense. This led to a
much-publicized reconciliation with Farrakhan,
the head of the Nation of Islam. Dr. Shabazz died
as a result of injuries sustained in a fire set
by Malcolm Shabazz, her 12-year-old grandson.
She was portrayed by Angela Bassett in Spike
Lee's 1992 film, Malcolm X, starring Denzel
Biographical fast facts
Full, original or maiden name at birth: Betty Jean Sanders
Date and place of birth: May 28, 1936, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Date, time, place and cause of death: June 23, 1997,
at 2:46 p.m., Jacobi Medical Center, Bronx, New York, U.S.A. (Injuries sustained in a fire)
Spouse: Malcolm X (m. January 14th, 1958 -
February 21st, 1965) (his death)
Wedding took place in Lansing, Michigan.
Daughters: Attallah (b. November 16, 1958)
Qubilah (b. December 25, 1960)
Ilyasah (b. July 22, 1962)
Gamilah Lumumbah (b. December 4, 1964)
Malikah Saban Shabazz and Malaak Saban Shabazz (twins b. September 1965)
Father: Shelman Sandlin
Mother: Ollie Mae Sanders
Burial site: Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, New York, U.S.A.
The most in-depth of more three dozen
sources consulted in preparing this
The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1964)
Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary, by Walter Dean Myers (1993)
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This page was last updated January 1, 2012. |