Andres J. Washington
Fingerprint Geometric Analysis


The Fingerprints of Malcolm X

The dermal ridge arrangements of Malcolm X (1925-1965) are far different than those to which we most commonly encounter.  The right thumb impression of Malcolm was a horizontal radial loop.  In other words, the ridges enter and exit in the direction of the radius bone.  Two variables which influence the display of a given pattern are gender and racial stock.  However, considering the above and all other known variables, radial loops have failed to provide a display on the aforementioned digit at frequencies higher than one percent.  Malcolm’s left index fingerprint was also a horizontal radial loop.  The radial loop is a minority pattern in so much as the definition can be understood.  Its counterpart, the ulnar loop, maintains the highest frequency among all other patterns. Further, the discovery of a horizontal radial 1oop upon the person of another individual has been infrequently noted in my thirty-one years of study!  Loop patterns are characteristically diagonal in appearance.  It is noteworthy however to mention that the February 1983 issue of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin displayed a horizontal loop pattern on the back cover.  It was described as interesting and unusual.  

Malcolm also displayed variety in the distribution of his dermatoglyphics configuration.  Most individu­als display patterns that are consistent with the patterns of the neighbor­ing digits.  In noting the three basic patterns, arch, loop, and the whorl, no particular pattern dominates in Malcolm’s overall display.  Notwithstanding, the right ring finger of Malcolm was a central pocket loop whorl pattern.  The frequency for this pattern to appear on the right ring finger is approximately 8.8 percent.  This pattern was the only whorl pattern in the ten set of fingerprints displayed.

Under the original rules for classifying fingerprints according to the Henry System of Fingerprint Classification and Filing, we would conclude that there were three plain arch patterns, the right index, right middle and the left thumb.  However, under revised rules for classification, the right middle finger is classified as a tented arch pattern (technical).  A technical tented arch is a pattern that has two of the three requirements necessary to be considered a loop pattern.  This pattern (#3) had a delta and a core but did not display a recurving ridge in front of the delta.  I have not seen a study to include the frequency of technical tented arches on the right middle finger.  In reference to the classic tented arch, it's frequency on the right middle is close to the 3 percent margin.


The breakdown on the combination of fingerprint patterns for Malcolm X was the following:


Four Ulnar Loop patterns (# 5, 8, 9 and 10)

Two Plain Arch patterns (# 2 and 6)

One Tented Arch Pattern (# 3)

Two Radial Loop patterns (# 1 and 7)

One Central Pocket Loop Type Whorl pattern (# 4)

An extraordinary configuration of the dermal ridge arrangements and

the variance of pattern display indicates an elevated mental manifestation.

Click here to view the fingerprints of Malcolm X.

Copyright ©  Andres J. Washington