Betty Shabazz, Dead at 61

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NEW YORK CITY: Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcom X, died Monday at age 61 in a New York hospital of burns suffered in a June 1 fire in her apartment. Shabazz got that name when her husband made a pilgrimage to Mecca and returned El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. She kept it after his assassination on Feb. 21, 1965 even though it was three men connected to the Nation of Islam that were convicted of the killing. Mrs. Shabazz went on to become a university administrator and spokeswoman for civil rights, and raised the couple's six daughters. In 1994, Mrs. Shabazz reopened the old wounds by charging publicly that Louis Farrakhan had played a role in her husband's death. After her daughter Qubilah faced charges in 1995 for hiring a hit man to kill Farrakhan, her mother apparently decided there had been enough rancor. At Harlem's Apollo Theater, she reconciled with Farrakhan, shaking his hand on stage at a fund-raiser for her daughter's defense. It was Qubilah's son, named for his famous grandfather, who is accused of setting the blaze in Shabazz's Yonkers apartment that left her with third-degree burns over 80 percent of her body.