Malcolm X’s Daughter Described As Quiet, Reserved
NEW YORK (AP) _ The second-eldest daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, Qubilah Shabazz had attracted little of the attention given to her father, mother and sisters.
That changed Thursday, when she was charged in an alleged plot to assassinate Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, her slain father’s rival.
Friends and acquaintances who knew the 34-year-old Shabazz only as the quiet mother of a teen-age son, Malcolm, insisted she was incapable of the actions outlined in the federal indictment.
``It is out of character for the young lady to enter into such an agreement. It is my suspicion she was framed or set up,″ said the Rev. Vernon Shannon of St. Catherine AME Zion Church in New Rochelle, a longtime family friend.
Qubilah Shabazz was 4 when she and her three sisters accompanied their pregnant mother on Feb. 21, 1965, to the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem to hear Malcolm X speak. As they looked on from the audience, he was shot and killed.
Betty Shabazz gave birth to twin girls after Malcolm X died and moved her family from the New York City borough of Queens to Mount Vernon in suburban Westchester County. She went on to earn her doctorate and become director of communications and public relations at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn.
Qubilah’s older sister, Attallah, an actress and playwright, has received acclaim for her speeches and involvement in the arts. A younger sister, Gamilah, is building a following as a rapper.
In a 1993 interview with USA Today, Attallah Shabazz said her mother hid copies of Malcolm X’s autobiography to shield her daughters from published pictures of her father’s slain body.
``But my sister Qubilah and I found them,″ she said. They wanted to learn all that they could not remember about their father, she recalled.
Qubilah Shabazz was educated at the United Nations International School in Manhattan, spent two semesters at Princeton and also studied at the Sorbonne in Paris.
In September, she moved to Minneapolis, where neighbors said they were unaware that she was the daughter of the slain religious leader.
``She was a very good tenant and she was always very pleasant. She was a very private person. I certainly did not recognize her,″ landlord Mansoor Alyeshmerni said.
Rodney Grant, 26, who was close friends with Shabazz’s twin sisters, told the New York Post, ``She was very quiet, almost docile. It seems far-fetched that she could have done such a thing.″
Percy Sutton, a close family friend and former lawyer for Malcolm X, told The New York Times she was ``an ideal young lady.″
``Nothing in her background would suggest to me that she could ever be involved in any criminal matter, including conspiracy,″ Sutton told the Times. ``Dr. Shabazz has raised her daughters to be outstanding women.″
At a symposium for teachers in Atlanta on Friday, Betty Shabazz didn’t mention the charges against her daughter and refused to take questions from reporters. On Thursday, she said she believed her daughter was framed.
But in her remarks about the importance of parents, teachers and other adults getting involved in children’s education, she alluded to the matter.
``It takes a whole village to raise a child,″ she said, then added to scattered laughter from the audience: ``God knows, I need some help.″