Harlem was ready to explode. It was just before midnight on April 26, 1957, and at least 4,000 protesters were massed outside the 28th Precinct stationhouse on Eighth Ave. Hours earlier, 32-year-old Johnson Hinton and two friends had been walking along W. 125th St. when they spotted two cops beating another black man with nightsticks. “You’re not in Alabama!” yelled Hinton and his pals. “This is New York!” The officers turned their nightsticks on Hinton, a member of the Nation of Islam, delivering several crushing blows to his head and face.\ Hinton, despite suffering lacerations on his scalp and bleeding on the brain, was now being held inside the four-story, red-brick 28th Precinct police station. The crowd was growing impatient. A race riot seemed imminent. A ripple of excitement swept through the crush of people when a 6-foot-3 man in a black suit and spectacles showed up and strode inside the stationhouse. The demonstrators, many of whom were Nation of Islam members, knew exactly who he was. Malcolm X. The fiery head of the Nation’s new Harlem mosque, Malcolm was allowed to see Hinton. But the cops refused to return the battered man to the hospital. Malcolm, sensing an impasse,… Read full this story
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