In the 1960’s. Roland Sheppard regularly attended Malcolm X’s meetings in Harlem. He is one of the few people still living who personally witnessed the assassination of Malcolm X in the Audubon Ballroom. His gripping account of the events of that day – February 21, 1965 – begins on Page 6 of his pamphlet, Why the Government Assassinated Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr..

Shephard describes the chaos that ensued in the ballroom when two (or was it three?) men ran toward Malcolm, firing a pistol at him, and then ran out the exit doors by the stage. He then watched helplessly as a black man in a navy blue trench coat fired a fatal shotgun blast at Malcolm. On a later visit to the Harlem police station, Sheppard finds the man he saw shoot Malcolm X and realizes he cannot tell the police since by doing so, he too would be a dead man.

Sheppard’s pamphlet presents an analysis of Malcolm X’s power and influence, why he was a threat to the establishment, and articulates discrepancies he uncovered in the various accounts of Malcolm’s assassination.

Excerpts from the pamphlet:

Malcolm X speaking at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on Feb. 15, 1965. Six days later, he was assassinated as he was about to speak again.Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘Dream’ is not possible under the ‘Nightmare’ of capitalism. The system of capitalism is based on the exploitation of Labor, and racism is required to divide and weaken the working class. As Malcolm X said: “Racism is profitable. If it was not profitable, it would not exist.”

The previous Civil Rights Movement offers valuable lessons for today: if we don’t let them divide us; if we keep our politics independent of the Republican and Democratic Parties and the Government; if we rely only upon our own power in the streets, in the schools, and at work; if we take up the struggles of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the many other heroes of the movement – we can win.

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