The Silence of the Wives

Has anyone ever wondered just why it was that the presumably devoted wives of the convicted Malcolm X assassins Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson – if both men had truly been “at home with their families” at the time of Malcolm’s killing – never undertook any Innocence Project-style public efforts to secure the release of their ‘wrongfully imprisoned’ husbands during the decades of their gruelling incarceration?

Indeed, just why was it that Theresa 7X Butler and Etta 2X Johnson never went on to become household names on account of the lifelong crusades they might both have been expected to have embarked upon to secure the overturning of their celebrated loved ones purportedly wrongful convictions?

Unlike Myrlie Evers-Williams who devoted her life to bringing to justice the assassins of her activist husband, Medgar, or the late Dr Betty Shabazz who became famous through her efforts to keep alive Malcolm’s legacy, Theresa Butler and Etta Johnson were conspicuous by their deafening absence from any public efforts to right the supposed wrongs that had been done to their loved ones.

Could it be that neither woman wished to play any part in furthering the disgusting lies in which their murderous husbands had implicated them? Could it be that these abused wives wished to be washed clean of the blood of Malcolm X with which Norman 3X and Thomas 15X had smeared them both?

And could Theresa 7X and Etta 2X one day summon the courage to step forward and tell the truth about Black America’s Bloody Sunday, namely, that wherever else their spouses may have been that wintry afternoon of 21st February 1965 it most certainly wasn’t at home?


Paul Bitakaramire is a freelance writer based in Manchester who has previously been published in Britain’s Spectator magazine and has launched a petition to secure the declassification of the FBI and CIA files on the Malcolm X assassination. That petition can be found here.