The Assassination of Malcolm X & the FBI



On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was shot down in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, New York—right in front of an audience that included friends, supporters, his wife, and four young children. Three members of the Nation of Islam were convicted for the murder, though two have maintained their innocence.


Four years after Malcolm X's death, the FBI shared a memo about their counter intelligence program, or COINTELPRO, and its direct effect on the rift between the Civil Rights leader and the Nation of Islam. This program's mission was to spy on, infiltrate, discredit, disrupt, and destroy domestic organizations and individuals it deemed "subversive." At the time of Malcolm X's death, the FBI was directing much of its attention to groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Nation of Islam.


Official FBI documents, articles, and recommended reading on the Bureau's role in the life and assassination of Malcolm X can be found below.



Articles and more official FBI documents:

An eyewitness account of the assassination and the aftermath in a nearby police station that tells a different story

"FBI should acknowledge complicity in the assassination of Malcolm X"

The public FBI records on Malcolm X


Recommended reading:

The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X by Karl Evanzz

Malcolm X: The FBI File by Clayborne Carson

The Autobiography of Malcolm X as Told to Alex Haley