Black Authors : book review of malcolm x daughter


Well-Known Member
Jul 26, 2001
Malcolm X’s daughter writes her Memoirs
Book Review By Andre Austin

On a scale from 1-10 I would have to give Ilyasah Shabazz a ten for writing “Growing up X”. The book is a refection of her family life and memories of her deceased parents: Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz.

Ilyasah was 2 going on three when her daddy Malcolm X was gunned downed by paid assassins in New York City on February 21, 1965. Her very eyes witnessed her father fall from the podium he was speaking from but her memories of it she relies on her older sister Attallah for details.

Betty Shabazz never talked about her husband’s death to her six daughters or took them to his gravesite, which is only a few miles away from their home in Mount Vernon. And pretty much throughout all their teenage life was protected and sheltered by all of them going to basically all white private schools and girl camps in the summertime.

Ilyasah cried throughout her fathers book “The autobiography of Malcolm X” when she first reread it in 1979 with “adult comprehension” at the State University of New Paltz at the tender age of 16. Her opinion was that Minister Louis Farrakhan wasn’t involved her father’s death but that people from the Nation of Islam did conspire with government agents to kill Malcolm X. However her other sister Qubilah felt otherwise when she conspired with an FBI agent, (who was her lover too), to kill Farrakhan in 1994. Ilyassah insist she was entrapped by the FBI agent who planted the idea for her imagination. An unrevengeful Farrakhan hosted a fundraiser in 1995 to help pay Qubilah legal fees. The prosecutor dropped all charges against Qubilah on the condition that she seeks drug and mental health treatments. Betty Shabazz didn’t hold any grudges because she did attend the Million Man March that was held later in 1995.

While Qubilah was seeking treatment she gave custody of “little Malcolm” to her mother. But Malcolm being extremely attached to his mother wanted to leave his grandmother. Little Malcolm wanted to do a deed to upset his grandmother to a point where she would allow him to live back with his mother. He set a small fire outside of his own room, not to burn the house down but just to be an intolerable menace. The fire got out of hand and 61-year-old Betty Shabazz ended up dying in June of 1997 of third degree burns. She was burnt so bad her whole body had to be wrapped almost mummified style. It appears that little Malcolm might be falling in his grandfathers early past. After being released from a juvenile home he and an associate were arrested in January of this year for armed robbery and driving a stolen car in Middletown, NY.

Despite all of this tragedy Ilyasah was able to get a Master of Science degree in Education from Fordham University. Ilyasah had the courage to write that as a teenager she was raped on top of a building roof, had boyfriends who cheated on her. While in college at New Paltz some of her fellow students spreaded rumors: “They’re saying I sleep with boys, I sleep with girls”. Her mother helped her move off campus but didn’t quit school. As growing up as a teenager Iyasah said she fell in love with Peter Brady from The Brady Bunch. She said she wrote Michael Jackson wanting to meet him but never got a reply. Iyasah was a model until she got into a car accident in 1984 while leaving a club called “Studio 54”. Her face was damaged but I couldn’t tell that she ever got into a wreck after looking at her Nubian Queen face.

Ilyasah maintains a special relationship with Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin L. King. She calls her Auntie Coretta. They often exchange gifts and phone calls. Ilyasah sets the record straight when she says it was never Malcolm vs. Martin. She believes Malcolm was moving closer to the ideals that Martin preached and King was shifting his beliefs closer to the ideas her father preached.

Even though several of the six daughters attended the Million family March in 2000 Ilyasah maintains an apparent cold shoulder to Min Farakhan.Ilyasah is disappointed that Farrakhan hasn’t given Malcolm X credit for building and bringing in thousands of supporters into the Nation of Islam.

Ilyasah is now married and works for the city of Mount Vernon, New York as Director of Public affairs and special events.

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