7 things that you may not know about Betty Shabazz

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1)Born Betty Dean Sanders in 1934, Shabazz married Malcolm during his rise in the Nation of Islam while in nursing school in New York.

2)She met Malcolm in 1956 after attending Nation of Islam events. The two married in 1958. They had six daughters, including twins that were born after Malcolm’s assassination.

3)After the death of her husband, Betty had difficulty to sleep. She had nightmares for weeks. She did not know how to support the family. But she could earn half of the royalty of Autobiography of Malcolm X. The other half of the royalties was for Alex Hailey who helped Malcolm writing the book. Hailey gave the other half of his royalty of this publication to Betty.She  sold the rights of the autobiography to filmmaker Marvin Worth and authorized the publication of her husband’s speeches to bring in more income.

4)Actress and activist Ruby Dee and Juanita Poitier, wife of actor Sidney Poitier, organized a fundraiser and created the Committee of Concerned Mothers organization. By raising $17,000 through a pair of concerts, the group assisted Shabazz in buying a home in Mouth Vernon and covered educational expenses for her daughters.

5) In 1969, Shabazz graduated Jersey City State College, completing her degree in education. She went on to earn her master’s degree in education as well. In 1972, Shabazz enrolled at the University of Massachusetts for her doctorate in higher education administration.

6)Shabazz joined the teaching faculty of New York’s Medgar Evers College, serving as a booster and fundraiser for the institution. She became the Director of Institutional Advancement and Public Affairs in 1984, and held that position until her death in 1997, when she succumbed to injuries in a fire set by her 12 year old grandson, Malcolm.

7)A memorial was set up in the Audobon Ballroom where Malcolm was assassinated. The name of the memorial is the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center. The portion of Broadway that sits at the corner of West 165th Street where the Audubon Ballroom is located was co-named Betty Shabazz Way in March 2012.

 

 

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