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Betty Shabazz, the widow of el-Hajj Mailk el-Shabazz, better known as slain civil rights leader Malcolm X, would have been 81 today. Despite losing her husband in such a violent way and facing raising six daughters alone, Shabazz found the will to achieve.
Born Betty Dean Sanders in 1934, Shabazz married Malcolm during his rise in the Nation of Islam while in nursing school in New York. The pair married in 1958 and had six daughters together. In 1964, the family left the Nation Of Islam to join the Sunni Muslim faith and Malcolm evolved from his Black nationalist message to a more humanist tone.
As the family’s sole provider, her husband’s assassination rocked the family to its core and left Shabazz scrambling to find ways to support her girls. Graciously, author Alex Haley signed over royalties he earned from The Autobiography of Malcolm X
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