It's been exactly 50 years since human rights activist Malcolm X was assassinated at the former Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. Today, hundreds of people gathered at the site—now the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center—to honor him, and at an earlier rally at the National Action Network (NAN)'s headquarters, daughter Ilyasah Shabazz warned he must not be “written out of history."

"He wanted to uplift his people, re-liberate his people, he understood that they had purpose and life and had to ensure that we empowered the next generation,” Shabazz, who is also a civil rights activist, said today. “When we understand history we understand that we can’t sit back and wait for someone to do something for us. It’s our responsibility. We have to do it.”

Reverend Al Sharpton also spoke at the NAN rally, noting that though dividing lines are often drawn between Dr. Martin Luther King, who argued for peaceful resistance, and Malcolm X, who believed in fighting for equal rights using "any means necessary," they were both essential to the civil rights movement. "[S]itting here arguing about Martin and Malcolm is like arguing about your momma and daddy," he said. "You’re the child of both of them."

Malcolm X was shot to death at age 39 by multiple gunmen on February 21st, 1965, while speaking to the Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon. About 300 people returned to the spot today to hear his eulogy, originally read by Ossie Davis, who died in 2005, and to observe a moment of silence at 3:10 p.m. Shabazz was in attendance, as were public officials.

Shabazz also penned an op-ed in the Times today ruminating on what Malcolm X would have to say about what feels like renewed civil rights activism in the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of white police officers:

We have been shaken by the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice — shaken, but not sufficiently unsettled. We must contextualize those losses, force our neighbors to become so deeply disturbed by what has occurred that they, too, are inspired to act to change the system.

If my father were alive today, he would be humbled as a new generation emerges, yet again inspired, in part, by his life and words. He would advocate alongside them. But he would encourage them to follow his lead and never take the path of least resistance.