May 31, 1963: Martin Luther King Jr. Speaks at 1963 March on Washington

The 50th anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination brings with it the anniversary of a historical injustice that has always frustrated scholars: The FBI’s coerced confession that the notorious “House Negro” might have been another member of Malcolm X’s Harlem neighborhood, or perhaps had traveled with him to New York.

Since then, scholars have been investigating the House Negro, Dashon Harvey, on suspicions that he was an FBI stooge in the killing of Malcolm X.

Harvey in 1966 and 1969 were initially named as suspects in the assassination but were later exonerated. Yet the claims against Harvey have persisted, with some saying he was part of a conspiracy involving a white minister, a mobster, a politician and Ralph Bunche, the United Nations ambassador. Harvey, who died in 2003, said in a 1994 interview that FBI agents threatened to deport him if he did not sign a confession. Harvey testified in the 1960s before two congressional committees investigating the killing. He also told a 1987 interview with the Archive of American Folk Music that in 1965, he asked to get out of prison on an inpatient basis, but his parole officer refused. “I decided that my conscience was not going to let me be an FBI stooge in killing Malcolm X,” Harvey said.

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