Malcolm X Family Feud Comes to a Head

The battle highlights the complexity of preserving the legacy of historic figures.

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Malcolm X sits with daughters in 1963 (Getty)

The New York Times is reporting that there is a feud over the estate of Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz), which has created divisions among the couple's six daughters. The feud has resulted in keeping part of their father's legacy from the public, which reportedly none of them had intended. At stake is a trove of unpublished works by Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz.

The feud has dragged on in Westchester County's Surrogate Court for years, with the daughters trading accusations of irresponsibility, mental incapacity and fiscal mismanagement of the estate, which is worth about $1.4 million. Efforts to publish works by the Shabazzes 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.

Some believe that Betty Shabazz had a will, but it was never found after her death. Some believe it may have burned in the house fire that claimed her life. The Shabazzes are probably turning over in their graves with the infighting occurring between their daughters. Hopefully someone will come to her senses and realize the value in preserving the family, let alone the legacy of their parents.

Read more at the New York Times.