Abdullah H. Abdur-Razzaq

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Abdullah H. Abdur-Razzaq (December 20, 1931 – November 21, 2014) was an African-American activist and Muslim known for being one of Malcolm X's most trusted associates. Born James Monroe King Warden, he was known as James 67X when he belonged to the Nation of Islam and James Shabazz in the years after he left the organization.[1]

Early life[edit]

James Monroe King Warden was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in the impoverished Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.[2] He attended the Bronx High School of Science, from which he graduated with honors.[3] He enrolled in the City College of New York but transferred to Lincoln University in Chester County, Pennsylvania, after a year.[2] He soon left that school as well to join the Army. Following his discharge, he returned to Lincoln and graduated with honors in English in 1958.[3][4] He received a master's degree from Columbia University.[1]

His work[edit]

in 1958,[1] Warden joined the Nation of Islam at Mosque No. 7, on 102 West 116th Street in New York City, under Minister Malcolm X. As was the custom among Nation of Islam members, he abandoned the surname of Warden as a vestige of chattel slavery and became the 67th James in Mosque No. 7.[5]

By 1960,[1] he had been promoted to lieutenant in the Fruit of Islam, subordinate to Captain Joseph X. Gravitt (later known as Yusuf Shah).[6] Subsequently, he was appointed circulation manager for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut of Muhammad Speaks, and answered directly to Malcolm X.

After the split between Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X formed Muslim Mosque, Inc. and appointed James, then still known as James 67X, secretary of the organization, as well as captain of the men. Based on Malcolm X's instruction, he took the name James Shabazz.

Brother James, as he was sometimes referred, was also responsible for the formation of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, a secular organization that Malcolm X had also formed, patterned after Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's Organisation of African Unity, and through which Malcolm X intended to charge the United States with violating the human rights of its chattel slave descendants.

Shabazz was a constant and willing aide to Malcolm X, in his capacity as head of Muslim Mosque, Inc.[7] and as head of the Organization of Afro-American Unity. He remained with, and vigorously assisted Malcolm X until the leader's murder on February 21, 1965.[8]

Post-Malcolm X days[edit]

Abdur-Razzaq spent the years following Malcolm X's murder raising a family and co-founding Al-Karim School (which would later become Brooklyn's famed Cush Campus Schools) with Ora Abdur-Razzaq. He later moved to Guyana, where he worked as a farmer. Returning to the U.S. in 1988, he earned a nursing degree, and he worked in as a nurse until his retirement in 2004.[4]

In his later years, Abdur-Razzaq's work as staff consultant for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture was invaluable in cataloging rare photographs, letters and accounts of Malcolm X's life and times. Furthermore, his expertise was widely solicited by journalists, authors, film makers and educators. In addition to his contributions to a wide array of published works, such as Bruce Perry's Malcolm X: The Last Speeches, Abdur-Razzaq was featured in several television interviews and films, including Malcolm X: Make It Plain[9] and Gil Noble's Like It Is. The DVD version of Jack Baxter's documentary Brother Minister: The Assassination of Malcolm X includes an "Exclusive Interview with Abdullah Abdur-Razzaq, Malcolm X's closest associate".[10]

Final years and death[edit]

In April 2013, Abdur-Razzaq returned to Lincoln University to speak about his memories and experiences working with Malcolm X.[11][2][4]

Battling leukemia, Abdur-Razzaq was admitted to Harlem Hospital in late 2014. After several weeks, he was transferred to Bellevue Hospital Center, where he died on November 21, 2014, at the age of 82.[3]

He is survived by children, grandchildren, and a large extended family.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d Felber, Garrett A. (2010). "James 67X Shabazz Oral History". Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society. 12 (2): 143–149. doi:10.1080/10999941003784946.
  2. ^ a b c Barber, Chris (April 15, 2013). "Malcolm X aide discusses his life and times". Daily Local News. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Abdullah H. Abdur-Razzaq, Chief Aide to Malcolm X" (PDF). Our Time Press. December 17, 2014. p. 11. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Holmes, Kristin E. (April 9, 2013). "A former associate and Lincoln U. grad shares memories of Malcolm X". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  5. ^ "Abdullah Abdur-Raazaq". The Malcolm X Project at Columbia University. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  6. ^ "Imam Yusuf Shah, 65, Black Muslim Leader". The New York Times. April 3, 1993. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  7. ^ "Acknowledgements". Malcolm X: Make It Plain. PBS. Archived from the original on May 26, 2005. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  8. ^ "Malcolm X". Biography.com. August 8, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  9. ^ "Malcolm X: Make it Plain". Democracy Now!. May 19, 2005. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  10. ^ Snider, Eric D. (December 6, 2005). "Brother Minister: The Assassination of Malcolm X". DVD Talk. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  11. ^ Durant, Lorel; Oates, Alex (April 12, 2013). "Malcolm X top Aide Visits Lincoln speaks on Life with Malcolm". The Lincolnian. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  12. ^ "Elected Officials, Community Leaders Gather to Pay Last Respect to Abdullah H. Abdur-Razzaq, Malcolm X's Last Chief Aid and Confidant". The Brooklyn Reader. November 25, 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2017.

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