The Malcolm X Commemoration Committee speaks on Ray Wood’s deathbed 'non-confession' to crimes committed before and during the great leader’s assassination.
“Wood continued to function as an undercover operative for at least six more years after Malcolm’s murder.”
The Malcolm X Commemoration Committee joins with everyone who calls for the reopening of the case of Malcolm X. However, we are not and will not be among those looking to forgive and have any compassion for the late Ray Wood.
We call his confession his “non-confession” because of two lies he tells. One, that he was coerced into doing what he did, and two, he didn't know that Malcolm was the target.
His 'confession' suggests that he was a novice and wrongly pressured into doing what he did that ultimately had a hand in Malcolm's death.
In fact, it is well known that before he infiltrated Malcolm's Organization of AfroAmerican Unity (OAAU), he was an operative who infiltrated the Bronx branch of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). As such, it is also known that he was not simply an informant in that capacity. That he was in fact a provocateur seeking to provoke illegal activity to set up their leadership for prosecution, in particular their leader Herb Callender. There is also evidence that the Statue of Liberty plot, the plan that compromised key men in Malcolm's security, was first floated to the CORE chapter Woods had penetrated, and that it was Woods who promoted that idea among them then.
Beyond being outraged for his role in facilitating the assassination with the NYPD's Bureau of Special Services (BOSS), we are outraged that this "confession" asserts that he was "not aware that Malcolm X was the target."
It is absolute insult to all of our intelligence.
“He was in fact a provocateur seeking to provoke illegal activity.”
Herman Ferguson and Yuri Kochiyama, both founding members of Malcolm's OAAU and our organization, have always said that they also saw Wood at the Audubon at the assassination and saw him being aided away from the scene by the police as if he may have been wounded from the shootout that ensued between Malcolm's soldier Rueben X Frances who heroically hit one of the assassin's, Talmadge Hayer, in the melee that ensued after Malcolm had been felled by the assassin team.
Of course, we must remind everyone how heroically important Brother Reuben was in all of this. Had not he been armed and ready on that fateful afternoon, all of Malcolm's killers would have gotten away scot free!
There is nothing innocent about Woods deeds here. Historian Garrett Felber reminds us that he received a promotion to Second Grade Detective for his work in the Statue of Liberty 4 case. Not something you would associate with someone facing coercion.
Woods would continue to function as an undercover operative for at least six more years, infiltrating the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) and the NY Chapter of the Black Panther Party.
“Wood received a promotion to Second Grade Detective for his work in the Statue of Liberty 4 case.”
Ray Wood was no one's innocent operative. He had in fact become an expert operative who produced desired results at critical times for his overseers. Deadly results at times as we are still reeling from the gravity of Malcolm's murder.
To be sure Woods 'work' in aiding Malcolm's assassination draws parallels to another New York operative, one whose provocations also got him decorated and on through law school, and that was Edward Howlette. Howlette played a similar role in jamming Herman Ferguson and his co-defendant Arthur Harris. They would be charged with conspiring to kill moderate civil rights leaders Roy Wilkins and Ralph Bunche. Both opted for exile. Ferguson exiled himself in Guyana for 20 years. He faced prison at 69 when he returned to New York in an effort to clear his name. Harris exiled himself to Scandinavia never to return.
We do want young organizers to pay attention to what they must learn as Hollywood now seeks to soften the deadly work of another operative who aiding in the assassination of Fred Hampton. Your operational group discipline matters. Be wary of those, in the name of being the most militant, seek to have folks engage in actions outside of your discipline...The tough guys, the sexually loose or drug reckless among you, watch them, or better yet, use your discipline to purge them from your ranks. They may not be who they say they are.
“Be wary of those who, in the name of being the most militant, seek to have folks engage in actions outside of your discipline.”
Exonerate Walter Bowe, Bob Collier and Khaicel Sayyid now! Pay their families damages for what they went through. Pay the Shabazz Family damages for the NYPD's participating in the horrific trauma of setting up the spectacle slaughter of their father and our leader!
Making it most plain in conclusion, the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee does not wish to see anyone have any sympathy or prayers of compassion for this man and the dastardly deeds he has performed, and the lies he has told, including those in this confession. We do feel for his family, who must be embarrassed and ashamed for disgraceful deeds that they had nothing to do with. However, as far as we are concerned, Ray Wood, or Ray Woodall, one of his other aliases, can continue on in his journey to hell for all we care. Let justice for his victims and victims’ survivors be served, and may the chickens continue to come home to roost!
Zayid Muhammad is founding press officer of the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, P.O. Box 380-122, Brooklyn, NY 11238, www.MXCC519.org, 973-202-0745; 917-346-8142.
Zayid Muhammad is also a freelance writer and a people's performance artist (stage actor and poet). He is a highly respected “cub” of the legendary NY chapter of the Black Panther Party.
Zayid Muhammad is currently the interim organizer for NCAP-Newark Communities for Accountable Policing, the coalition of organizations represented on Newark's new Civilian Review Board. In addition to his duties with the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, he does media for the People's Organization for Progress, and the Newark AntiViolence Coalition.
This article previously appeared in Patch.com.
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