Thomas Hagan was a young black man who was part of a Group called Nation of Islam. At one time Malcolm X was a very prominent speaker for this group but decided to withdraw his activity with them. This angered Thomas Hagan and he decided to gun down the speaker while he was giving a speech at Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom on February 21st 1965.
There were two other men also charged in the shooting and killing of Malcolm X, but Thomas Hagan has always stated these two men were not involved. They were also charged and released in the 1980’s. Once Thomas Hagan shot Malcolm X he tried to run away but security officers caught up with him and many people begin to beat him.
He was sentenced to serve his time in the Lincoln Correctional Facility in New York and coincidentally it’s location is on the corner of Malcolm X Boulevard. Thomas Hagan did not waste his time while in prison, he earned his masters degree in sociology.
For the last twenty two years he’s been on work release and working with various homeless shelters and staying with his family at night. He has went up and tried for parole over 17 times until they finally let him free on April 27th 2010.
Many may wonder if spending 44 years behind bars was enough for the killing of another human being? What does a man plan on doing with his life since serving most of his life behind bars? Thomas Hagan dreams of becoming a substance abuse counselor according to www.dailymail.co.uk.
Thomas Hagan has stated that he is still a Muslim but no longer a member of The Nation of Islam. He regrets what he did and stated on several occasion’s he was acting out of rage and and loyalty to his group and his leaders. He was a young man who simply got swept up in acting on his impulses and made a poor decision that cost him 44 years of his life.
Thomas Hagan made it on the Time.com top ten parolees of all times. but one must consider this, Should he have served life in prison with no chance of parole since he gunned down this man while his pregnant wife and small children were nearby and watching?
Many authors and reporters have stated this may have been some sort of conspiracy and that other people were involved in the shooting, other than Thomas Hagan. There were two men up front that stood up and began arguing as some would state later on to cause a distraction.
Another distraction was when a man set a fire a piece of handkerchief in the back room and when everyone was looking at the commotion, Thomas Hagan walked toward the stage and began shooting Malcolm X, knocking him backwards onto the chairs and onto the floor.
One can only hope that Thomas Hagan has learned what he did in his early twenties was morally wrong and that his actions took another humans life, as well as a husband and father from his family. Hopefully this man can give something positive back to the community and never break the law again.
Author: Candus Poyner