Malcolm X Trove Hidden During Feud

February 9, 2011  |  

(New York Times) — A feud over the estate of Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X, has created divisions among the couple’s six daughters and has resulted in something none of them had intended: keeping part of their father’s legacy from the public.  The daughters have traded accusations of irresponsibility, mental incapacity and fiscal mismanagement of the estate, which is worth about $1.4 million. But the greater value may reside in a trove of unpublished works from Malcolm X and Dr. Shabazz.  As the dispute drags on in Westchester County Surrogate’s Court, efforts to publish the works have been thwarted by the daughters’ bickering; all must sign off on any plan to sell and release the material, which includes four journals that Malcolm X kept during trips to Africa and the Middle East in 1964, a year before his assassination.  The battle represents the latest turn in the complex journey of a family that has come to define the struggle and pride of blacks in America. The clash also underscores the difficulty of preserving the legacy of a prominent figure, especially when it requires uniting competing personalities and visions.  Dr. Shabazz died in 1997, three weeks after suffering extensive burns in a house fire set by one of her grandsons. No will was found, even though some believed that one had existed.

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