In honor of Black History Month, I vow to make every post I make on here through the month of February about a different historical figure in African-American history. (It’s imperative to the cultural landscape of the United States to acknowledge the contributions of all peoples, regardless of skin color or upbringing.)
Today’s post is about Dr. Betty Shabazz. Born Betty Dean Sanders and also known as Betty X, Dr. Shabazz was an American educator and civil rights advocate. She was the wife of Malcolm X.
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 in New York that she met Malcolm X and, in 1956, joined the Nation of Islam.
Along with her husband, Shabazz left the Nation of Islam in 1964. She witnessed X’s assassination the following year. Left with the responsibility of raising six daughters as a single mother, Shabazz pursued a higher education, and went to work at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York.