New York, February 21—Malcolm X, the Negro nationalist leader, was assassinated while addressing a meeting in Harlem today. He fell after a barrage of shots. Later, two Negro men were arrested and charged with murder.
The Negro leader, who recently returned from a tour of Africa and a visit to Britain, was taken to a near-by hospital with three bullet wounds.
A spokesman said:
The wounds were centred in his chest and I
believe one was in his cheek. This conflicted with a police report
that he was shot in the stomach. Three other men were wounded in the
It was at 3 p.m. that Malcolm X rose to address the audience in a
ballroom, where he held weekly meetings of the Organisation of
Afro-American Unity. This was the movement he formed after falling out
with the Black Muslims, which he led in New York, because of the
remark he made at the time of President Kennedy's assassination,
the chickens are coming home to roost.
As he rose, one of his followers climbed on the rostrum and told the
Malcolm is a man who would give his life for you. There
aren't many men who would lay down their lives for you.
Malcolm X stepped to the rostrum and received a thunderous ovation.
Then the shots rang out. Many of the 500 people present fell to the floor. When the firing subsided, Malcolm X, bloodied and unmoving, lay sprawling on the floor in a pool of blood. The audience rushed towards the exits of the buildings, dashed down the stairways, and into the street. Some of the witnesses reported that the fusillade of shots sounded like a machine-gun burst.
Malcolm X's wife, Betty, watched her husband fall over. Then she
ran hysterically through the auditorium screaming:
killing my husband.
Guards had been stationed throughout the ballroom for Malcolm X's
speech, which had been advertised as an
action programme. The
meeting was closed to the press but Negro journalists were admitted as
Few policemen were on duty at the ballroom. But large numbers were
soon on the scene.
Don't let them get away Negroes shouted
as they chased two men.
Kill them, kill them. The policemen
intervened as the two men were being beaten on the pavement.
When he was in Britain he told students of Manchester University that
the American Negro would bring about a revolution
either with the
ballot or the bullet.
Reuter and British United Press