A Brother set Up Malcolm X

And The FBI Ran The Scheme To Kill A Black Leader

Photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash

By all accounts, Malcolm X was a peace-loving brother; at least, he did not advocate violence as an act of aggression. Malcolm believed that all humans had a right to defend themselves if attacked, but no one had a right to inflict violence on a person who came in peace.

When he was shot down in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem that cold February day in 1965, many people said that it was a case of living by the gun and dying by the gun. The faithful mourned, the majority showed indifference.

Living by the gun is an inappropriate metaphor for Malcolm because he did not live by the gun. His whole persona desired to secure equality for Africans living in America in a perpetual state of slavery since 1619. His crime was publicly speaking the truth about powerful men in the government and corporate America.

In the days when Blacks lived with their enslavers on the plantation, there could be found one among them who helped Massa keep the rest enslaved to a system that denied them their humanity. If one enslaved person said, “let’s organize and get away from here,” there was a brother who carried the message back to the big house. You could usually find them pretending to be sad when the organizer received the whip or the rope.

So, it does not come as a big surprise that a brother set Malcolm X up to die just as Malcolm released plans for the Organization of Afro-American Unity. This was a group which would include the religious and secular segments in the Black community and unite them with Africans on the continent.

“At the time, I was not aware that Malcolm X was the target,” Raymond A. Wood said in a written statement dated January 11, 2011.

Wood, a self-proclaimed “black New York City undercover police officer from April 1964 through May of 1971,” uttered his statements in hopes of clearing the name of Thomas Johnson, one of three men convicted of the slaying of Malcolm X.

New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance has re-opened Johnson’s case and has met with the Innocent Project members who represent Johnson, now deceased.

If Wood’s confession is credible, he was hired on April 17, 1964, by the New York City police department around the time the FBI had surveilled Malcolm X in Africa, meeting with Kwame Nkrumah and member nation-states of the Organization of African Unity.

Malcolm and Nkrumah hatched a plan to link African Americans and Continental Africans in one large organization that would fight Western capitalism abuses and make Africans independent economically, politically, and socially. Malcolm planned to seek a United Nation plebiscite on the human rights abuses inflicted on Africans living in the U. S. And with strong support from the OAU, he was certain to get the U. N. votes needed to call the U. S. out for its mistreatment of Black Americans.

In May, Malcolm returned to Africa to further cement plans for the two organizations. His travels and projects disturbed FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. He believed that Malcolm was amassing too much political power and could throttle political and economic institutions in the U.S. and Europe. Hoover believed that Malcolm was a clear and present danger to white man rule in America.

According to Wood’s unnotarized confession, his “job was to infiltrate civil rights organizations throughout New York City, to find evidence of criminal activity so that the FBI could discredit and arrest its leaders.”

Furthermore, Woods said, “Under the direction of my handlers, I was told to encourage leaders and members of civil rights groups to commit felonious acts.”

One of those felonious acts was to blow up the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, and the Washington Monument.

In his confession, Wood wrote, “Under the direction of my supervisor/handler. Using surveillance, the agency learned that Bowe [Walter Augustus Bowe] and Sayyed [Khaicel Sultan Sayyed] were key players in Malcolm X’s crowd control security detail. It was my assignment to draw the two men into a felonious federal crime so that they could be arrested by the FBI and kept away from managing Malcolm X’s Audubon Ballroom door security on February 21, 1965. On February 16, 1965, The Statute of Liberty plot was carried out, and the men were arrested just days before the assassination of Malcolm…”

Just as Judas led the Sanhedrin Council to Jesus’ encampment at night when he would be most vulnerable, Wood opened the front door for the assassins. They could enter with their weapons unimpeded if they were not already in the Ballroom before members of the OAAU began to arrive for the meeting.

To divert Malcolm’s front door security, Wood conspired with Bowe, Sayyed, Robert Steele Collier, and Michelle Duclos. Somehow a Canadian typewriter repairman named Giles Legault figured in the rouse to cause Bowe and Sayyed to abandon their post due to involvement in the alleged plot to blow up Miss Liberty. It is not certain if Wood ever met with Legault. It seems likely that Legault procured the dynamite for fellow Canadian Michelle Duclos, described by the United Press International as an attractive Canadian woman.

The FBI identified the three “Negro men as being members of the Black Liberation Front, described as a ‘terrorist organization’ with ties to both black supremacist groups and pro-Castro Cubans.”

According to UPI, “The arrests culminated a long investigation by federal and city authorities.”

Except for Legault, who allegedly hung himself in a Canadian jail cell, none of the conspirators received any severe punishment.

According to Mitchell, David F. “The Monumental Plot: An Overview of the 1965 Conspiracy to Destroy the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell, and Washington Monument,”. Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security International. 16(4): 30–34. Retrieved May 9, 2015, Duclos pleaded guilty to the second count brought against her of illegally transporting dynamite into the U.S. and testified against her fellow conspirators. As a result, she served only three months in prison before her term was lifted and replaced with five years — probation and a permanent ban from reentering the country.

Twenty years later, Duclos received an appointment to several government positions, including the position of non-resident representative to Algeria of the province of Quebec in 2002, according to Esteban Beruvides, Cuba: Anuario Historico 2001 Tomo 2.

Collier died February 12, 2010, at the age of 73 years old in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he had served three years on the school board and was an adjunct professor at Marist College and several colleges in the area.

Light sentences for members of a terrorist organization out to wage war on the federal government.

Woods wrote, “On February 21, 1965, I was ordered to the Audubon Ballroom, where I was identified by witnesses while leaving the scene. Thomas Johnson was later arrested and wrongfully convicted to protect my cover and the secrets of the FBI and NYPD.”

This probably explains Legault’s hanging. He knew too much about the geneses of the plot and had to be neutralized to coverup the involvement of the FBI in this plot to assassinate Malcolm X. 

Who then Killed Malcolm X? The FBI’s plot to assassinate agents of change like X and Martin Luther King, Jr. must be investigated and those responsible, if still alive, must be brought to justice. At the very least, targeting Black leaders with a bullet or entrapping them in a criminal scheme to ruin their political standing in the community must cease.

Harold Michael Harvey is the Living Now 2020 Bronze Medal winner for his memoir Freaknik Lawyer: A Memoir on the Craft of Resistance. He is the author of a book on Negro Leagues Baseball, The Duke of 18th & Vine: Bob Kendrick Pitches Negro Leagues Baseball. He writes feature stories for Black College Nines. Com. Harvey is a member of the Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and a member of the Legends Committee for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. Harvey is an engaging speaker. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com


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Published by Michael

Harold Michael Harvey is a Past President of The Gate City Bar Association and is the recipient of the Association’s R. E. Thomas Civil Rights Award. He is the author of Paper Puzzle and Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System, and a two-time winner of Allvoices’ Political Pundit Prize. His work has appeared in Facing South, The Atlanta Business Journal, The Southern Christian Leadership Conference Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine, Black Colleges Nines, and Medium.

2 replies on “A Brother set Up Malcolm X”

  1. Why are we surprised by all the old and new occurrences? All I have to say is the recent four years and a climax of Jan 6, 2021.
    As usual well written.
    God is Real People??

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