Marable Book Revises Image of Malcolm X
Manning Marable died just three days before the publication of his long-awaited book on Malcolm X, the product of 20 years of intense work. Accordng to the New York Times, the book, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, challenges many of the accepted facts about the former Black Muslim leader. Marable concluded that much of what appeared in The Autobiography of Malcolm X, his collaboration with Alex Haley, was "fictive," exaggerating his life of crime. He also suggests that the FBI and the New York City police did not act on threats to Malcolm's life because he was seen as a "dangerous rabble-rouser."
Working from sources not previously available, including 6,000 pages of FBI files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Marable reinforces earlier reports that two of the three men convicted of Malcolm's assassination were not at Harlem's Audubon Ballroom on that day. Instead, Marable says, two of the men actually responsible are still alive and have never been charged. The book suggests that one of the reasons for Malcolm's break with the Nation of Islam was oedipal: his discovery that the religion's leader, Elijah Muhammad, had impregnated a young woman Malcolm had loved for many years.
The book also highlights Malcolm's expanding global vision after his break from the Nation.
Malcolm X’s subsequent trip to Mecca in 1964 -- a likely turning point in his religious evolution -- was recounted in both the autobiography and the biopic. The Marable book, however, provides extensive new material about a second, 24-week trip to Africa and the Middle East later that year, drawing on Malcolm X's own travel diary and providing details on a campaign he waged to have the United States condemned for racism in a vote at the United Nations.
As part of that effort to open a foreign front for the civil rights struggle, which was closely monitored by American governmental agencies, Malcolm X met with numerous African heads of state as well as Chinese and Cuban diplomats. The Johnson administration was so upset, Mr. Marable writes, that Nicholas Katzenbach, the acting attorney general, considered prosecuting him for violating a law that bans United States citizens from negotiating with foreign states.
Read more at the New York Times.