Tuesday, February 26, 2008



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By Roland Sheppard


[Roland Sheppard, is a retired Business Representative of Painters Local # 4 in San Francisco. He has been a lifelong social activist and socialist. Prior to his being elected as a union official in 1994, He worked for 31 years as a house painter. He has led a unique life. He is one of the few people remaining who were at the Audubon Ballroom when Malcolm X was assassinated. In his retirement, he iswriting about his life experiences as a socialist, as a participant in the Black Liberation Movement, the Union Movement, and almost all social movements. His essays are based upon his involvement in and the struggle for workers democracy and freedom for all humanity.]

I regularly attended Malcolm X’s meetings in Harlem and was present at the meeting when Malcolm X was assassinated. I was in charge of defense whenever Malcolm X spoke at the Militant Labor Forum in New York City from 1964 to 1965. I have written several articles, spoken to various groups, and been interviewed about Malcolm X. This essay is an update of a paper that was accepted by City College of New York’s (CCNY) Black Studies Program for The Third Symposium of Institution Building in Harlem: The Malcolm X Legacy: A Global Perspective, held on Friday, May 20, 2005 at CCNY. It was first written as the February, 2001 Monthly Feature for the Holt Labor Library website. www.holtlaborlibrary.orgIt is based on my presentation at a forum in Boston in 2000, on the same subject. The other speaker at the forum was Minister Don Muhammad of the Boston Nation of Islam.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Over thirty years ago, Malcolm X (1965) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1968) were assassinated. In the case of Malcolm X, several members of the Nation of Islam (NOI) were convicted of the assassination. In the case of Martin Luther King, one assassin, James Earl Ray, was convicted of the assassination and sentenced to life in prison. However, there have always been many unanswered questions about both of these murders. Despite the convictions, and the ongoing campaign by the government, police agencies, and various authors and pundits to put the assassinations to rest, there have always been many unanswered questions about these murders.

According to a Memphis jury’s verdict on December 8,1999, in the wrongful death lawsuit of the King family versus Loyd Jowers and other unknown coconspirators, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a conspiracy that included agencies of the United States government. Almost 32 years after King’s murder at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis….

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