Another fact about Malcolm X
Did you know that another fact about Malcolm X is that he once tried to cheat a known killer with his money? Yes, in his autobiography he told Alex Haley this fact about a number runner who had a photographic memory and his name was West Indian Archie.
Archie’s memory of the West Indies was well known for never having to jot down a number, which was a valuable asset in the numbers business because the police could never catch him with numbers. He would memorize the numbers that customers gave him in any combination and then record them later that night.
For more than twenty years he never lost a customer’s number until one day Malcolm X then known as Detroit Red claimed that he had hit a number and accused him of forgetting that he played it.
West Indian Archie went ahead and paid Malcolm his money, but then he checked his betting slips and realized that Malcolm had made a false claim.
This was a dangerous play. West Indian Archie’s reputation was at stake because he knew that young scammers were often trying to cheat older scammers out of their money, while at the same time building a reputation of their own in the process.
West Indian Archie put a gun to Malcolm’s face and demanded his money back within four hours. This was a death threat that Malcolm had to face or leave town.
Malcolm X decided to leave town.
But Malcolm returned years later, having spent 7 years in prison and becoming a minister for the Nation of Islam. He returned to find Archie from the West Indies living well below the level he was when Malcolm was gone.
Now he lived in a boarding house, broke and very ill. Malcolm says he was too hurt to stay much longer because he couldn’t bear to see Archie living that way after meeting him in his prime.
But, another fact that Malcolm X didn’t tell about in his autobiography is that West Indian Archie was broke because Malcolm X hit him.
After Malcolm claimed that Archie was losing his memory and forgetting his numbers, many others kept making false claims until his financial backers could no longer trust his memory.
This led to the fall of the West Indies.
This was devastating for West Indian Archie because his reputation for having a photographic memory was his claim to fame in the numbers business.
This is another fact about Malcolm X that is very important because later Malcolm X would also try to destroy the reputation of his renowned leader “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad”.
But unlike the situation with Archie from the West Indies, Malcolm X would not escape death and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad would continue to flourish and indeed become even more famous after Malcolm X’s untimely death.