History and Historiography

Son of Khalil Islam is happy his father’s been exonerated in Malcom X killing, ‘but there’s still sadness’

By Brigid Kennedy, The Week

The son of newly-exonerated Khalil Islam, who was wrongfully convicted in the 1965 assasination of Malcolm X, explained Thursday that while he’s happy a judge cleared his late father’s name, sadness nevertheless lingers.

“It almost sounds casual to me that he’s been exonerated,” said Shahid Johnson, Islam’s son, “so the great pleasure’s not there because he’s not here with me.” On Thursday, a Manhattan judge exonerated both Johnson’s father and Muhammad Aziz in the murder of Malcolm X, a crime both had long denied committing. Islam died in 2009.

“The fact that the family suffered, growing up with concerns of fear, of people coming after us … those kind of things you can’t get back,” Johnson went on. “Normality was gone when I was 10.”

“Right now, this is great, but not so great at the same time,” he added. “I am happy, but there’s still sadness. That’s how I feel.”

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