By Sona Jain, CNN • Updated 9th August 2017
Malikah Shabazz, a daughter of Malcolm X and co-founder of the Million Man March group, has died. She was 56.
“My daughter Malikah Shabazz passed away Friday night,” Rashid Muhammad, president of The Gathering of New Voices, said in a post on Facebook . “She is survived by her three children: Anesha, Malikah and Ahmadah, her parents Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, her four brothers: Malcolm X, Larry, Thomas, and Curtis Shabazz and other uncles, aunts, cousins and significant others.”
Details on how she died weren’t immediately clear. A niece, Mary Shabazz, posted a picture of her on Facebook. “You were an amazing sister and a mother I’ll miss you ‘mama xxXOXO,” she wrote.
Shabazz was a long-time member of the Million Man March group. She was one of the three original founders of the group and a long-time leader of their organization, according to the collective’s website.
“Malikah Shabazz was an outstanding person with great integrity, a strong spirit and a deep sense of peace,” Rashid Muhammad said in the group’s statement. “While her contributions to the civil rights movement were significant, they did not come from any self-aggrandizement. She was a strong ally to many who cannot themselves share the credit.”
CNN has reached out to Ahmadah Shabazz for comment.
Malikah Shabazz’s father, Malcolm X, was a fiery leader in the civil rights movement, whose life often had a painful edge. He was an outspoken black nationalist who was largely seen as a man of the people. But at the time of his murder, he lived in white America.
He was attacked and assassinated by a mob outside a beauty supply store in New York in 1965. His assassin, Black Panther Party member Curtis Sliwa, later boasted that he shot him out of frustration.
Malikah Shabazz gave up her father in 1974. She was just six years old, but her mother, Betty Shabazz, was grief-stricken.
“I miss my old man so much,” she once told CNN. “A lot of the times I see people giving me so much love, and I don’t even know them.”
In later years, Shabazz said she mostly went with her father’s wishes.
After her father was killed, Shabazz picked up the civil rights torch that had been left behind by her father.
She founded the group Solidarity for Self Determination, a group she said would “stand by civil rights heroes.” She believed that some civil rights leaders had forgotten about the root causes of the civil rights movement.
“There have been a lot of people who have been better paid than Malcolm X,” she said. “There have been a lot of people who have done more social services, but they really don’t understand how racism works.”
Weeks before her father’s death, Shabazz said, a woman named Maddy Meyers from The Gathering of New Voices contacted her. She wanted to organize a trip to Iraq in November and wanted to bring 50 men together.
“It was the greatest thing to have the opportunity to travel with people who were concerned about this situation in their country,” Shabazz said. “They wanted to have a dialogue with their brothers and sisters about how to help the people that are suffering because of Islamic State.”