Interview with Betty Shabazz
QUESTION 10
CARROLL BLUE:

After his expulsion, what changes did you notice in him? I--

BETTY SHABAZZ:

Well, he beha- no, he behaved the same way, he was, ah, goal oriented. And, ah, he decided that this was the time for him, to, ah, travel, to do some research, to find out some answers for himself. He had at one particular time, been very disappointed, not only in the movement, but in the leadership. Ah, that a lot of things that he had heard even when he, ah, first entered the movement, ah, that, ah, there was a possibility that they were true. The reason that, ah, the leader was, ah, run from, ah, from Michigan. Ah, that various people showed him pictures, and, ah, and talked and cried, you know, about what had happened. So that he felt that, that, ah, the movement was a good movement, it was, the structure was good, that, ah, one needed to be disciplined and more caring about the people, and, but that he needed to do some research, so that he was invited, ah, to the summit conference, the first time, that, ah, a Black American had been so honored, ah, to come to the summit conference and represent Black people in America. And of course, he traveled throughout Africa, and, ah, the Middle East, and part of Asia. And made some startling discoveries. And of course, at that particular time there was a lot of things going on in this country, and one of them was the irritation in this country by decision makers, that he should not have been allowed to, to, travel that far, and, not knowing that he was going to meet the kind of people that he met. And so then they started, ah, gathering, ah, forces to anoint a leader that would supersede him. So there was of course in, ah, the American papers, that, ah, the- they had a poll, that said he was not a, a leader thought, ah, well of, and that other people were much more popular with the people. And then we got a call one day that said someone was going to get a grand prize, you know, and it was an attempt to, ah, set leadership, not only, not only against him, but, ah, above him. That what he was doing was not, ah, appreciated by his own people, and this, that and the other, so--

CARROLL BLUE:

Stop for just one second



BETTY SHABAZZ:

I don't, I don't really know if Malcolm's original agenda, ah, from the knee of his father ever changed, actually. Ah, he perhaps was able to discuss it, ah, ah, more openly and intellectually in the time that I met him. He said, freedom, by whatever means necessary to bring about a society were people of African descent were recognized and treated as human beings, regardless to where they lived, you know, as long as it was on Earth. And if, if you really understand that, and a lot of people defined it perhaps negatively, they talked about militancy. But it wasn't really militancy in a negative s- s- sense, it was the internal strength, the fact that I'm a human being. His, ah, whole, um, notion of changing the civil rights struggle to one of human rights. That if you changed it to a human rights struggle, you would have your civil rights, and that you would have more support. And of course, ah, when he came back from Africa, a lot of the leaders felt that, ah, his thrust was wrong, that he had no business in Africa, he had no business in the Middle East, he had no business in Asia seeking support. He should, ah, concentrate his time in Mississippi. And of course I think now, retrospectively, that his analysis was correct. Ah, that of human rights, and of course different nations are cited for human rights violations. Ah, but, ah, Black people are still abused, and ours is still, ah, in the realm of, ah, discrimination and civil rights, and it really needs to be taken to a higher level. So that I, I think his analysis was correct, I think that people or I should say, decision makers at that time, I'm sure that they recognized that there was a great deal of validity to what he was saying. And just wanted a little more time to get a lot of things in order. I can remember when, ah, they were really criticizing him severely for wanting to change it to a human rights struggle. Ah, that, ah, Arthur Goldberg, ah, threatened to take Russia to the World Court at that particular time for just the 3 million, ah, Jews in Russia, because they had, ah, human rights violations. And I thought it was remarkable, it was honorable, I mean that's, as a leader, that is really what he should have done for his people. And, ah, but I also felt that Malcolm was correct to take, uh to discuss the whole, ah, possibility of taking this country to the World Court, the U.N., where such items are discussed, for maltreatment the more than 22 million, at that particular time, ah, Black people. And of course he was demonic, and all the bad names that could be thought of. But, ah, I, I think that, ah, that he was correct.