THIS NEEDS TO BE STATED UPFRONT: Not for a moment would we dare suggest that former world heavyweight boxing champion (and one-time Nation of Islam member) Muhammad Ali was an active participant in the 21st February 1965 assassination of Malcolm X. Perish the thought.
Evidence has emerged of the close personal relationship which Ali enjoyed with at least one of Malcolm’s would-be assassins, Clarence 2X Gill. Gill, who served as one of Ali’s bodyguards and close confidants, was a Fruit of Islam (FOI) captain at Louis Farrakhan’s Boston Mosque #11 and is suspected of having been part of a ‘back-up’ hit team at the Audubon Ballroom on the occasion of Malcolm’s assassination. Gill was reportedly shot by one of Malcolm’s bodyguards (Reuben Francis) while attempting to flee the venue and may have later received treatment for his wounds at Ali’s Miami training camp – quite possibly from Ali’s very own fight doctor.
Gill, a cocaine addict, was an especially psychotic and homicidal character and was implicated by Malcolm himself in an assassination attempt that was to have been carried out in league with fellow Massachusetts captain of Springfield Mosque #13, John X Peters. Both Gill and Peters had camped out in the New York home of Farrakhan’s half-brother, Alvan X Walcott, ahead of the attack. Walcott, in turn, is widely believed to have participated in the 14th February 1965 arson attack on Malcolm’s home along with Norman 3X Butler, Thomas 15X Johnson and the vicious captain of Harlem’s Mosque #7, Joseph X Gravitt.
In the event of any new investigation into Malcolm’s assassination, Ali may be required (his illness permitting) to testify as to whether Gill ever engaged in any discussions about the killing of Malcolm X in his presence. Ali may also be in a position to account for the whereabouts of Gill in the days following Malcolm’s assassination. Long-standing suspicions that members of the NOI’s Miami Mosque led by Abdul Rahman Muhammad (aka ‘Captain Sam’, who was a member of Elijah Muhammad’s personal ‘Honor Guard’ and captain of Muhammad’s Mosque #29 under Minister Lucius Beyah Muhammad) may have played a role in the harbouring of Gill would be something Ali may be in a position to address.
The horrifying prospect that so revered and beloved a figure as Ali may have played an indirect role in the assassination of Malcolm X by providing refuge to a vile thug like Gill in the full knowledge of his complicity in an attempt on Malcolm’s life would be a tragic coda to what has been an otherwise glittering career.