Malcolm X Speech in Los Angeles on May 22, 1962
On April 27th 1962, two LAPD police officers instructed to closely monitor a mosque’s activities (Muslim Temple 27 in Los Angeles) saw Black men taking clothes out of the back of a car outside the mosque.
They approached aggressively and soon got violent, and as Malcolm X puts it, “hell broke loose”. The situation ended with seven unarmed Black Muslims shot outside the mosque.
Nation of Islam (NOI) member William X Rogers was shot in the back and paralyzed for life. Temple Secretary Ronald X Stokes, 29, was killed. “They’re going to pay for it”, Malcolm X declared, going to Los Angeles to eulogize Stokes at a funeral attended by 2,000 people.
Despite an autopsy that established Stokes was shot at close range and had been stomped, kicked and bludgeoned while dead or dying, an all-White coroner’s jury deliberating the Stokes’ killing, took 23 minutes to conclude it “justifiable homicide.”
By contrast, 14 NOI members were indicted for assault in the incident and 11 were found guilty. Elijah Muhammad’s reluctance to aggressively retaliate to Stokes’ death and refusal to work with civil rights organizations, local Black politicians and religious groups, would be the first of a series of events, causing irreparable rifts between The Honorable Malcolm X and the so-called ‘Messenger of Allah’ Elijah Muhammad. And lead to his eventual departure from the Nation of Islam and embrace of traditional, Sunni Islam.