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5 Eyewitness Perspectives of Malcolm X's Murder

Updated on May 31, 2012


It is quite amazing how different the five accounts of the same incident and each writer focused on one thing or another. The writer from The New York Times brought up Malcolm’s skin color more than anything else it seemed and there was also a racist undertone. From the second sentence referring to Malcolm as “a bearded Negro extremist,” bodes quickly of what the writer’s feels of Malcolm and where the importance of the events lie. He claims that the perpetrator of the crime had to be rescued from the crazy crowd that had shot and beaten him. The racism in the writing leaves the piece very bias and not very desirable to read, as well as ineffective.


The writer from Life seemed much more fascinated with the gore of the event, then anything else and opens his account with blood and such. Further feelings are felt with the language of his bloody death and the writers seeming amusement that he was killed by a black man. His mention of Malcolm and his 400 followers as hating Whitey seemingly tries to influence the reader with his own views. The gore alone makes it ineffective and there is still too much Whitey in the writing to be unbiased. More significance was put on the fact that he was killed by one of his own, then his death at all.


The New York Post writer seems to take a more humanistic approach to the whole scenario. The writer began the piece with words of love from his followers, showing importance where it should have been. The writer shows their positive outlook on Malcolm by mentions of his words of peace, including his last. His assassination was felt through the words and phrases captured from the on-lookers. The humanistic approach is still a bit biased by choice of a few phrases out of thousands, however the lack of negative wording helps it to be a bit more effective than the prior two.


Associate Press’s writers began with the fact that Malcolm had been previously victim to violence only the week before and mentions his followers as devoted, as well as claiming them responsible for savagery where the perpetrator had to be rescued by police. There really is no significance in the man’s death, but more the “pandemonium that followed. The word alleged when describing the assailant bodes deep in my opinion, as it being just that opinion and influence word choice. The style was somewhat effective and non-biased, however it is subtly so.


The Amsterdam News takes a rather weird approach of less facts and more first person writing of someone who was not even there. The person’s reaction and describing Malcolm as articulate, then the mention of the on-lookers being “neatly dressed” shows a respect and language used to show opinion. The style was not very effective because of the informality of it, but was one of the more pleasant accounts. The acknowledgement of the significance of what had happened was felt in the last line and what Malcolm’s would have been greatness. The writer also chose to add a vengeful comment out of thousands to tie in the fact that revenge bombing had already occurred being tied to his followers.



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