This Day in History:  Malcolm X Is Assassinated

On this day, February 21, 1963, Malcolm X was assassinated by rivals of the Nation of Islam in New York City. He had been addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights.

Founded months earlier, the organization advocated Black identity and held that racism — not whites — was the greatest foe of the African American. The Nation of Islam advocated Black nationalism and racial separatism.

Malcolm’s new movement steadily gained followers, becoming increasingly influential in the civil rights movement. An estimated 30,000 mourners attended his funeral in Harlem.