Human rights and civil rights activist Betty Shabazz died on June 23rd, at the age of 63, of severe burns. Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X, was burned on more than 80 percent of her body during a June 1 blaze, allegedly set by her grandson, that swept through her apartment. Five skin-graft operations, performed in hopes of saving her life, were not ultimately successful. After the death of her husband, Shabazz earned a doctorate in education and was most recently a public relations administrator at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York.
Throughout her life, Shabazz worked as an activist for African-American women and a champion for human rights. She traveled extensively in Africa, Europe and the Caribbean as a lecturer and participated in the United States Aid for International Development Conference in South Africa. Civil rights activist Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., said of her, “She leaves a legacy of love, service, dedication and caring, especially for the childrenThe nation has lost a committed civil and human rights activist whose life and contributions have made a significant difference.”