Thomas Hagan, only man to admit role in Malcolm X assassination, is paroled
2010-04-28 0:00

By Jennifer Peltz | YahooNews.com

The only man ever to admit involvement in the assassination of Malcolm X was freed on parole Tuesday, 45 years after he helped gun down the civil rights leader.

Thomas Hagan was the last man still serving time in the 1965 killing, part of the skein of violence that wound through the cultural and political upheaval of the 1960s. He was freed from a Manhattan prison where he spent two days a week under a work-release program.

Hagan, 69, has repeatedly expressed sorrow for being one of the gunmen who fired on Malcolm X, killing one of the civil rights eraís most polarizing and compelling figures. One of the groups dedicated to Malcolm Xís memory condemned Haganís parole.

Hagan declined to comment after his release.

"I really havenít had any time to gather my thoughts on anything," he told The Associated Press by telephone.

Hagan acknowledged that he was one of three men who shot Malcolm X in front of a crowd of hundreds ó including several of his young children ó as the civil rights leader began a speech at Harlemís Audubon Ballroom on Feb. 21, 1965. Two other accomplices created a distraction in the audience, Hagan has said.


In this Feb. 21, 1965 file photo released by WCBS-TV, Thomas Hagan, 22, struggles with police who take him from the scene outside the ballroom where Malcolm X was shot and killed in New York. (AP Photo/WCBS-TV News, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

But he said the two men convicted with him were not involved. They, too, maintained their innocence and were paroled in the 1980s. No one else has ever been charged, a fact that has perpetuated debate and theories surrounding the slaying.

The Manhattan District Attorneyís office, which prosecuted Hagan and his co-defendants, declined to comment on Haganís release or his account of the killing.

Hagan tried 17 times before being approved last month for parole. He had been sentenced to up to life in prison for what he described in a 2008 court filing as the deed of a young man who "acted out of rage on impulse and loyalty" to religious leaders.

The assassins gunned down Malcolm X out of anger at his split with the leadership of the Nation of Islam, the black Muslim movement for which he had once served as a prominent spokesman, said Hagan, then known as Talmadge X Hayer. Malcolm X had spoken out against its leader, Elijah Muhammad, in comments that some of Muhammadís followers denounced as slander.

At the time, "I thought I was fighting for truth and right," Hagan said in a 1977 sworn statement that aimed, unsuccessfully, to get his co-defendantsí convictions overturned.

Over the years since the assassination, "Iíve had a lot of time, a heck of a lot of time, to think about it," Hagan told a parole board last month, according to a transcript of the interview.

"I understand a lot better the dynamics of movements and what can happen inside movements, and conflicts that can come up, but I have deep regrets about my participation in that," said Hagan, adding that he had earned a masterís degree in sociology since his conviction. He said he was still a Muslim but no longer a Nation of Islam member.

The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, an organization founded by the civil rights leaderís late widow, hasnít taken a position on Haganís parole, board chairman Zead Ramadan said.

"We just donít think itís ours to decide the fate of this man. We allowed the laws of this nation to develop that," Ramadan said.

Members of the Shabazz family didnít immediately respond to a request for comment made through the center.

Another group, the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, decried Haganís parole at a press conference earlier this month, saying the crime was too serious to allow for his release.

"(Malcolm X) was and still is an enormous international figure and revolutionary hero," spokesman Zayid Muhammad said in a release. The committee holds essay contests and other events in his memory.

Malcolm X rose to fame as an uncompromising voice for black empowerment who urged African-Americans to claim civil rights "by any means necessary" and called white people "blue-eyed devils." But after breaking with the Nation of Islam in 1964 and making an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, he began renouncing racial separatism.

After he was killed at 39, a New York Times editorial called him a "twisted man;" Time magazine described him as a demagogue whose "gospel was hatred." But his stature grew after his death with sales of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," written with Alex Haley, and later with Spike Leeís 1992 film "Malcolm X," said Manning Marable, the director of Columbia Universityís Center for Contemporary Black History and the author of a forthcoming biography of Malcolm X.

By 1999, Malcolm X was on a postage stamp.

Hagan was initially scheduled for release Wednesday, but the date was moved up because his paperwork was completed, state Department of Correctional Services spokeswoman Linda Foglia said.

Hagan was on work release for nearly 22 years. He spent five days a week working in settings that included a homeless shelter; he spent those nights at his Brooklyn home with his family. He told the parole board he hopes to become a substance abuse counselor.

Article from: news.yahoo.com



Related Articles
Malcolm X - Wikipedia
The COINTELPRO operation against Malcolm X (Video)
Malcolm X Assassinated
Spike Lee Malcolm X Death 8/1/92 (Video)


Latest News from our Front Page

Increased tax subsidies for politically correct media
2015-03-29 22:08
On Dec 9 last year I translated a random snapshot of the biggest newspaper in Sweden. The headlines alone spoke for themselves. It was, simply put, an orgy of political correctness, obvious attempts at emotional manipulation and general national self-loathing. In other words, a typical Swedish newspaper on any given day. As more and more readers are waking up to the ...
When obeying the law and supporting yourself is racist
2015-03-29 22:56
There is a huge scandal in the municipality of √Ąlmhult in Sweden. It has been revealed that there is a letter that may have been sent from the municipality offices to newly arrived immigrants informing them that the law applies to them and that they‚Äôre expected to eventually go off the dole and start pulling their own weight in society. In ...
New political weapon: Threat to unleash immigrant invasion
2015-03-29 22:05
Youtube description: Threatening to bombard a country with illegal immigrants has become quite the bargaining chip in political quarrels, as Polly Boiko explains. Source: youtube.com/RT Editors Note: Notice how the argument is twisted around at the end of the report. The word "Bogeyman" is used. This is a common allusion to a mythical creature. What is mythical about replacement immigration into Europe? ...
Facebook completes first drone flight above UK, Mark Zuckerberg confirms
2015-03-28 3:15
Solar powered drones which provide internet access to rural and remote areas have been trialled in UK for first time by Facebook. They ‚Äúhave a wingspan greater than a Boeing 737 but will weigh less than a car‚ÄĚ, according to the social network's chief Mark Zuckerberg. The drones, developed by Somerset-based company Ascenta which Facebook bought last March, will beam down laser-guided ...
300 Young English Girls (and a few Boys) Groomed and Assaulted by Oxfordshire "Gangs," Report Finds
2015-03-28 2:04
Editor's note: This story is a few days old now but the echoes of Rotherham just keeps coming. A few weeks ago there was Halifax, now Britain proudly can add Oxfordshire to their line up of diversity success stories. Below is the story from the telegraph: Serious case review finds failings by police and social services as it identifies hundreds of victims A ...
More News Ľ