Noted African American historian Manning Marable died in New York on Friday, three days before his long-awaited book containing revelations about Malcolm X is to be published, his publicist confirmed. He was 60.
A prolific writer, Marable directed the Institute for the Research in African American Studies at Columbia University and for years wrote the column “Along the Color Line” in the black press.
“He had been hospitalized with pneumonia last month, and last summer had a double lung transplant meant to relieve him of sarcoidosis, a lung disease from which he had suffered for a quarter century,” Larry Rohter wrote in the New York Times.
According to Viking Press, his publisher, Marable’s “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” is “filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the ‘Autobiography.’ ” It “unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties.
“Reaching into Malcolm’s troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents’ activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Marable has based his work on extensive interviews with Louis Farrakhan and other intimates, as well as previously unseen FBI files and archival information from the Nation of Islam’s own records.”
Michael Eric Dyson, the author, professor and talk show host who with fellow scholars Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cornel West wrote blurbs praising the book, told Journal-isms by email, “Yes there are newsworthy revelations for sure!”
The book, the product of 10 years, is expected to touch upon a subject the news media have been loathe to investigate: the true identity of Malcolm X’s killer.
Journal-isms wrote last year, “A handful of Malcolm X scholars say the 45-year-old mystery of who really pulled the trigger and killed the iconic black leader has been solved, and are wondering why the news media aren’t giving it more attention.
“Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, a historian who writes for the Woodson Review and other publications of the respected Association for the Study of African American Life and History, identified the trigger man on his blog . . . . as William Bradley, about 72 years old, and known today as Mustafa Shabazz” of Newark.
In 1993, historian and author David J. Garrow wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, “Does Anyone Care Who Killed Malcolm X?” [PDF]. Mike Wallace had explored the subject in 1982 on CBS-TV’s “60 Minutes.”