Betty Dean Sanders
May 28, 1934
|Died||June 23, 1997 63) (aged|
New York City, U.S.
|Resting place||Ferncliff Cemetery|
|Other names||Betty X|
Brooklyn State College School of Nursing
|Children||6, including Attallah, Qubilah, and Ilyasah|
|Relatives||Malcolm Shabazz (grandson)|
Shabazz grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where her foster parents largely sheltered her from racism. She attended the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where she had her first encounters with racism. Unhappy with the situation in Alabama, she moved to New York City, where she became a nurse. It was there that she met Malcolm X and, in 1956, joined the Nation of Islam. The couple married in 1958.
Along with her husband, Shabazz left the Nation of Islam in 1964. She witnessed his assassination the following year. Left with the responsibility of raising six daughters as a widow, Shabazz pursued higher education, and went to work at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York.
Following the 1995 arrest of her daughter Qubilah for allegedly conspiring to murder Louis Farrakhan, Shabazz took in her ten-year-old grandson Malcolm. In 1997, he set fire to her apartment. Shabazz suffered severe burns and died three weeks later as a result of her injuries.