What all those experiences have taught me is that most of what is being discussed and presented about Malcolm is very limited and shortsighted. Spike Lee's movie was an absolutely terrible representation of Malcolm, his life, and certainly his ideas and actions. And, like much in this society, most people rely on the movie to form most of what they think they know about Malcolm.
What I will say about Malcolm's murder is Minister Farrakhan didn't kill him. He's not totally without blame either. A simple way to put it is we know for a fact from Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) files, open and made public from the 1974 Freedom of Information Act (FOI), that the FBI had "high level" informants in the Nation of Islam as early as 1957. It's reasonable to believe that those high level informants were placed within the highest level of leadership of the NOI. In fact, we believe that John Ali, the former National Secretary of the NOI, was more than likely an FBI man placed within the NOI. Ali was brought to Elijah Muhammad by Malcolm and it was Malcolm who sponsored Ali for the national secretary position. Once Ali got in that position, his relationship with Malcolm changed. The quality of communication between Malcolm and Mr. Muhammad began to erode as John Ali became the intermediary. Malcolm's access to Mr. Muhammad was much more limited and problems in communication began to happen on a frequent basis. An example of this was Malcolm's much discussed "chickens coming home to roost" comments after John Kennedy was assassinated which presumably led to Malcolm's suspension from the NOI. It is John Ali who can be seen on every documentary immediately staging the press conference to denounce Malcolm. Ali had played the same interference/sabotage role during Malcolm's meeting with Fidel Castro in Harlem in 1960, the Ronald Stokes incident in Los Angeles in 1962, and with Malcolm's relationship with Muhammad Ali who was then known as Cassius Clay. The day after Malcolm's murder, there was an FBI memorandum which congratulated operatives for a "job well done." That document discussed a cash bonus payout for what took place. Ali was more than likely on the receiving end of that payout, but he had a lot of help and this is where Minister Farrakhan comes in.
Ali and whomever else was paid to cause havoc within the NOI were able to do so by driving a wedge between Malcolm and Mr. Muhammad. The Muhammad family, vastly concerned that Malcolm's integrity and commitment to the African liberation struggle would jeopardize their material comfort should Malcolm rise to become leader of the NOI should Mr. Muhammad pass on, were more than willing to be pawns in the demise of Minister Malcolm. Herbert Muhammad, the longtime corrupt boxing manager to Muhammad Ali, and Mr. Muhammad's eldest son, Elijah Muhammad Jr. a power hungry and unstable man, and Raymond Sharriff, the Supreme Captain of the military wing of the Nation - the Fruit of Islam (FOI)- and his wife Ethel, were all bitter enemies of Malcolm. Along with James Shabazz, the then minister of the Newark Mosque, and Minister Farrakhan, then the Boston minister, the FBI had people in place who would articulate the need to destroy Malcolm, thus setting stage for an environment within the NOI where Malcolm's assassination could take place. Of course, all of these people are at worst guilty of self ambition, envy, and petty egoism. It must be understood that it was this federal government that set the stage for Malcolm to be murdered. Anyone who was involved on any level was simply a pawn for the wishes of the federal government.
What's practically never discussed is why the federal government wanted Malcolm out of the way. If you watched Spike Lee's movie, you have no idea what the man did to qualify for death so we will give you a perspective here. Although the comments after Kennedy's death were used as the reason for Malcolm's separation from the NOI, that separation was in the making long before 1963. Malcolm was a political revolutionary. A Pan-Africanist. Based on the comments he made in the last year of his life (read the "Final Speeches of Malcolm X) he was a developing socialist. All of this didn't happen just in 1964. The seeds for Malcolm's political development were being sewn long before then. If you want to understand his political development better, look to the meeting he arranged with Fidel Castro in 1960. A meeting Mr. Muhammad was not that keen on, but one that Malcolm wanted because Malcolm knew Castro represented the emergence of new genuine revolutionary leadership in the world. That meeting served as the beginning of the relationship between Malcolm and the revolutionary government of Cuba which apparently continued up until Malcolm's assassination. Also, If you read/study Malcolm's speeches from 1962 forward, you will find that he was talking about a political agenda that had very little to do with the line and position of the Nation of Islam. By the time he left the Nation in 1964, he was free to pursue the path he was ready to travel. Some detractors claim that his call to Mr. Muhammad after his official break is proof he actually wanted to return to the NOI. I completely reject this. Leaving an established organization, the one that created your identity, would be frightening to anyone, even Malcolm X. How many of us have severed a relationship just to go through one, two, three, or more periods of reconcilation before terminating the relationship once and for all? This is not really a desire to continue in that relationship. It's a fear of moving forward into uncharted territory. Malcolm was ready to pursue his revolutionary path. Much has been said about his trip to Mecca and his "conversion" to Sunni Islam, but the most important aspect of his trips were the political connections he made. It was Malcolm himself that said the highest honor of his life was "having an audience with Kwame Nkrumah" (Malcolm's Autobiography). Nkrumah gave Malcolm the political context of Pan-Africanism which answered Malcolm's questions about where to take the African struggle. If you don't believe that, just look at the fact that Malcolm returned to the U.S. after meeting Nkrumah and started the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) in 1964. This organization was to serve as the U.S. branch of the Organization of African Unity (OAU - the African Union today) that Nkrumah founded in 1963. Clear proof of Malcolm's Pan-Africanist inclinations. We should also mention Gene Roberts, a New York police officer who posed as a member of Malcolm's OAAU. Roberts actually gave Malcolm mouth to mouth after Malcolm was shot. We know now that Robert's intention was not to save Malcolm, but to insure he was beyond recovery. Roberts went on to frame the Panther 21 in 1969 of conspiring to blow up the Statue of Liberty. There is also the much reported poisoning of Malcolm in Egypt in 1964 where doctor's there confirmed he had a toxic substance in his stomach and did not suffer from food poisoning. And, the fact French intelligence officials later admitted they didn't want Malcolm to land in France days before his actual assassination because they didn't want him killed on their soil. All of this is clearly far beyond the capacity of the Nation of Islam.
The fact U.S. intelligence forces were doggedly following Malcolm in Africa is common knowledge now. Even Spike Lee got that part right. Nkrumah even warned Malcolm that his own Ghanaian intelligence had told him that their information was that Malcolm would be assassinated upon his return to the U.S. The U.S. government killed Malcolm because they were highly concerned about the revolutionary potential he was helping to create and that this revolutionary work was taking place on an international basis. His ties with the radical Casablanca Group Pan-Africanists in Ghana and Guinea were a major issue with the U.S. along with his developing ties with the Cuban revolution and the Pan-Africanists in Egypt. Malcolm had to go and in February of 1965 he was assassinated. In February of 1966, Nkrumah's government was overthrown in a now acknowledged (by them) Central Intelligence Agency coup. They made many attempts to overthrow the Sekou Ture regime in Guinea, but were unsuccessful until his death in 1984. Of course, they continue to sabotage the Cuban revolution to this day in spite of their public efforts at reconciliation (the embargo remains in place).
An elder stated it best when he said the NOI may have fired the guns, but it was the U.S. government that bought the bullets. Still, the NOI had many people who made the fed's job much easier than it should have been. All of the people mentioned with an honorable mention to Newark Mosque FOI caption Clarence X Gill, possibly the master mind behind the assassination, helped set the stage for Malcolm's murder. Uncle sam is the murderer. He killed Malcolm like he killed Patrice Lumumba, Che Guevara, and countless other freedom fighters. That's what uncle sam does and they will continue to do it until we have an organized mass that will make it impossible for them to kill the movement simply by killing individuals.