This Day in History: Malcolm X Is Assassinated February 21, 1965 The African American nationalist and religious leader was assassinated by rival Black Muslims of the Nation of Islam in New York City. He had been addressing his Organization of Afro- American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights. Founded just months earlier by Malcolm, the organization advocated black identity and held that racism — not the white race — was the greatest foe of the African American. The Nation of Islam — from which Malcolm X had separated before his pilgrimage to Mecca — advocated black nationalism and racial separatism. Malcolm’s new movement steadily gained followers, becoming increasingly influential in the civil rights movement. An estimated 30,000 mourners attended his funeral in Harlem.