Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (New York: Viking, 2011 pp. 594)
Manning Marable’s reinvention of the life of Malcolm X: “You Ain’t Saying Nothing New”
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Herb Boyd sets the record straight
As a child growing up, I did not have a father or a father figure that I could look up to. Someone to guide and show me what a man is suppose to accomplish in life that will benefit his family, community, and the world. After going to see the movie on Malcolm X by Spike Lee with my late brother, and one of our friends in the neighborhood, my life was deeply impacted by what I saw on screen. For all its faults that I can glean with an adult eye and mind, the movie detailed the most principled man I have known to this date. Malcolm X, like all of us was not perfect, but he strove for perfection in terms of the liberation of all oppressed people especially those of African descent. He stood up to the white man is what I saw, told it like it is, and was, and should be and did not compromise or sell his soul for the almighty dollar. He risked and lost his life with the hope that we could all become better people receiving the right to equality to be treated as human beings who should not be denied the truth to our existence and we should defend or obtain these rights by any means necessary. We were “bamboozled, run a muck, led a stray” are the lines for the film that stuck with me the most and it was then that I realized that my goal in life was to be a truth-sayer or exposer of inequities. Upon reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X, his speeches and viewing countless videos of speechless, and interviews I became more aware that this is the man that I wanted to emulate. When I met Ilyasah Shabazz in 2005, I told her that when I read your father’s words I feel like I can feel his energy and his inspiration hits me powerfully at that moment. With that in mind, on this day, the 19th of May, the birthday of Malcolm X aka Malik El Haji Shabazz, I shall present a brief review of Manning Marable’s, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention a text that many of us long to read because we were of the belief that this would be the seminal text on this great icon and that it would shed some life on important facts about Malcolm X that were never known to us before.
In Malcolm X: A Life Of Reinvention, a 16 chapter text including a prologue, epilogue acknowledgements and research notes section touted as his Magnus Opus, Manning Marable states his primary purpose of the book as follows: “to go beyond the legend to recount what actually occurred in Malcolm’s life. I also present the facts that Malcolm himself could not know, such as the extent of illegal FBI and New York Police Department surveillance and acts of disruption against him, the truth about those among his supporters who betrayed him politically and personally, and the identification of those responsible for Malcolm’s assassination.” Notice the term “actually occurred” because this is a theme to be explored. Did Manning Marable illustrate throughout his biography of Malcolm X what actually occurred? This means he has hardcore facts and is not making are feeding into suppositions, assumptions, rumors about Malcolm X. Being an Historian, we should expect Marable as he promised in countless interviews extensive use of primary sources and not secondary sources. Also we would expect caution to be attuned to interpretations so as not to have author bias effecting how the subject in this case Malcolm X is presented and viewed by the author since this would be the perception the reader would take with them upon reading the text. The question to be answered is, did Manning Marable tell the truth are did he reinvent Malcolm X for his are his editor’s purposes the same thing he accuses Alex Haley of throughout this text?
Marable trust the responsibility upon himself to seemingly correct The Autobiography Of Malcolm X co penned by Alex Haley because as he states in the prologue, he desired to correct names that Malcolm did not want to be known to the public such as that of the white women he was having an affair with before he went to prison. In the hood, this would be referred to as dry snitching as Malcolm tried to protect these people but Marable does not seem to respect this idea because one can ask what is the importance of this information? Although despite Marable’s attempt to be the ultimate truthsayer and bearer of news, members of Malcolm’s Muslim Mosque names are misspelled or left out throughout the book as per Imam Talib Adur-Rashid’s assessment at a conference on the text in May 2011.
He sought to correct dates, which it is shocking that he attempted to do so considering this text has the wrong dates for Marcus Garvey’s arrival to the United States, the inception of the NAACP, and the establishment of the UNIA all have the wrong dates and this happens within the books first chapter. Other dates follow and you have to do your own fact checking because you cannot rely on the text, which is a shame considering Marable is an accomplished historian. One also wonders why the statistics of how many Blacks lived in a certain states are not documented for the reader to use to ascertain the veracity of these numbers as Marable did beautifully in his seminal and arguably more likely Magnum Opus How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America.
Also, Marable had an issue with the factual truth as he saw it not being told in the Autobiography of Malcolm X, yet he makes statements that cannot be factually supported throughout the text. At times presenting something like the questioning of Malcolm X’s sexuality, by falsely claiming he engaged in a homosexual act as being proven by circumstantial evidence and then a paragraph or two later writing as if it were a fact. All of which are based on secondary sources who paid their sources some of whom like Malcolm Jarvis had an ask to grind with Malcolm X. Even Malcolm X’s nephew allegations on the same matter are questioned by some sources like John Andrew Morrow who claim’s Rodnell Collins wrote salacious info on his uncle to make money. Nothing-new here just another attempt to emasculate an iconic figure. At the conference at the Grad Center last year, Leith Mullings the Widow of Manning said he loved Malcolm X. If he really loved him then he would not put to print such claims that read like lies. This is outrageous and very upsetting for the family and followers of Malcolm. This is exactly the type of false information that gets a book to become a New York Times best seller.
Marable’s statement that Alex Haley was a Liberal Republican is not based in fact and there is no evidence to support such a statement provided. He even challenges Haley’s statement that Malcolm asked him not to use the chapters about the OAAU in the book by saying this probably happen, but what evidence does Manning have to prove that this is false? I wondered about the attack on Alex Haley in this book an often wondered if it was the result of professional jealousy.
Not to mention, the outrageous statements of supposed facts by the author that Malcolm X’s wife was guilty of cuckoldry with the treacherous agent Charles Kenyatta, Malcolm having infidelities with a UN rep in Sweden which Marable’s only proof of this one is that Malcolm did not write in his diary that much after documenting that he met and spoke with a women named Fifi at the hotel where he was staying. He also pronounces that he allegedly had an affair, with Sharon X, and Lynn Shifflet who were part of Malcolm X’s organizations Muslim Mosque Inc. and the Organization of African American Unity. In addition, he states that Malcolm probably kept his wife pregnant all the time so she would not cheat on him. The latter statement and the ones prior are very egregious, insulting, and disrespectful. This may be the reason why after telling Malcolm X’s daughter IIyasah that he was going to write this work in 2000, he never contacted her to get any information on her father. This type of information has no primary source to back it up and is a spurious, ghastly, in appropriate, self-serving, William Styron style emasculating attempt to stain the legacy of Malik El Haji Shabazz. This family has gone through enough over the years and for him to present lies and innuendos as if they are facts knowing that they would upset the family is unsettling, repugnant and has nothing with an evaluation and comprehension of the revolutionary ideas, politics and actions of Malcolm X.
Malcolm X, contrary to what Marable asserts here, did in fact mention that his parents were Garveyites and that he was class president and wanted to become a lawyer. However, he was told that “niggers can’t be lawyers.”
In 2004, Dr. Marable told Democracy Now that the government should turn over all of the FBI files on Malcolm X so that the truth can come out for the family sake in order to know what involvement the government may have had in his assassination. However, when Dr. Marable uses speculative evidence and unproven assumptions with no legitimacy in facts to put out embarrassing information that cannot be verified as true he places his scholarship and motives in question.
For Example, there was a letter that Malcolm X supposedly wrote to Elijah Muhammad about some intimate issues concerning his relationship with Betty Shabazz. Historians, such as Herb Boyd, who stated that the person who produced the letter is an Internet blogger who produced it, placing in question the validity of this letter and it has not been verified as a legitimate source. Plus he relied on info from men who wanted Malcolm dead who were in the Nation of Islam.
It is strange that he would except this letter as genuine and the information given to him by these oral sources when in the same text he mentions how Farrakhan who he interviewed for nine hours for this book tries to make it look as though Malcolm left the Nation due to anger about an ex-girlfriend Evelyn being impregnated by Elijah Muhammad. Marable slams this self serving theory of Farrakhan by positing, “Farrakhan may have a vested interest in exaggerating Malcolm’s anger about Evelyn in order to promote a non theological reason for his break with the NOI, which set the stage for Farrakhan’s own rise to prominence.” Marable goes on to say that is was highly unlikely that Malcolm would have left the nation for that reason because we must remember that Elijah Muhammad not only fathered many children and tried to make excuses for it and continued the behavior after Malcolm X spoke to him about It, but he also silenced Malcolm X for his “chickens coming home to roost” statement after JFK was murdered and also Marable takes issue with this as per his statement that the comment on JFK was “offensive.” Malcolm’s statement, which was just a reflection of Karma hitting America which is and was responsible for killing leaders in other countries who objected to being Americas puppets. Marable does express these sentiments in the pages to following and the video a Malcolmology Episode 4: Leaving The Nation.
Letters Marable also mentions sent by the FBI with the intention of exasperating the split as per the research of Clegg and Evanzz that had contrived statements of Malcolm X spreading rumors about Elijah Muhammad made the split more inevitable. The link of the silencing to the supposed death threats Elijah Muhammad may have received as a result of Malcolm’s comments about JFK to members of the Nation calling for Malcolm’s death are detailed more extensively in the Malcolmology Episode 4: Leaving the Nation than in the text.
Malcolm was silenced for this statement a hypocritical action because he was taught by Elijah Muhammad to tell the truth about the White man or “Devil” and he is punished for doing so. He was told not to speak on it and violated that rule, but to be silent on this matter would be contradictory based on what he was taught and what the Koran teaches as well. Elijah Muhammad was influenced by people in his hierarchy and family not to lift the band of silence on him because they made Muhammad believe that Malcolm sought to take over the nation. Hence, Jealousy becomes the major factor in Malcolm’s silence that smelled like an ouster leading to Malcolm’s departure. Marable using one of many assumptions and cast of judgment characteristic of much of this text states “perhaps Malcolm failed to express his remorse sufficiently, for it was after this phone call (Marable states that Nation hierarchy Sahrieef and Ali were probably listening on this call when Muhammad chastised Malcolm X for discussing his extra marital affairs and out of wedlock children in a manner not befitted his position. The problem here is the use of the word probably which does not prove they were in fact listening in on this conversation. This is a historical biography not the national inquirer) that Muhammad concluded the time had come to strip him of all authority.” At a Nation of Islam court it was rendered that Malcolm X be quarantined says Marable.
In addition, Marable quotes Farrakhan as saying Malcolm did not past the test set by Muhammad, but Marable presents strident evidence and analysis to the contrary which shows that internal forces with the nation, Elijah’s jealousy, and Malcolm’s developing too fast as Marable states and teaching ideas over and beyond what the Nation wanted taught as Dr. Clarke says, and his high principled moral character would not allow him to continue being a loyal servant of in Malcolm’s eyes the dishonorable Elijah Muhammad. Father of many children that as my Grandmother used to say, he was not “mining”(taking care of).
We must commit to memory, Malcolm’s statement speech at the Audobon Ballroom 6 days before he was brutally murdered about the fallacies of the not so Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm asserts,“I feel responsible for having played a major role in developing a criminal organization. It was not a criminal organization at the out start.”
This is detailed by countless horrifying stories of Nation of Islam members being murdered for minor infractions like smoking, fornication and consuming pork. Some of these supported by Farrakhan and one of Elijah Muhammad’s sons Akbar. Not to mention, the countless times in which they tried to kill Malcolm X and that after the “chicken coming home to roost” incident members of the nation wanted Malcolm to be killed for because of the stress his statement on the JFK caused the Nation. Marable in the Malcolmology makes the point that Nation of Islam hierarchy such as John Ali wanted Malcolm not just exiled but dead.
The extent to which Elijah Muhammad would not go to defend Black Muslims shot up at the Mosque in Los Angeles is displayed in this text by Marable as he shows how Malcolm wanted to retaliate against the police for the unlawful shooting of brothers in the Mosques but Elijah Muhammad rejects this notion which deeply troubles Malcolm especially since he is informed that they deserved to be shot because they were cowards who should never have surrendered according to Elijah Muhammad. The lecture notes Malcolm kept on the shooting incident are at the Schomburg, and they show how Malcolm detailed the shooting of these brothers in the unarmed Muslim Brothers. Seven of them shot one paralyzed a number of them were shot in their penises as detailed in the notes by Malcolm X. He wanted the fruit deployed to Watts for revenge and Elijah Muhammad said no.
I must say that Marable’s principality as a scholar shines in the very beginning of this text when he broke down the building of the Audobon Ballroom and how it received its name in the prologue. He captures the beauty of the Jazz era, and the Harlem Renaissance, and he recounts many of the important facts about Marcus Garvey and how that connects to Malcolm’s, which was done in the Autobiography and family memoirs. Marable relies heavily on the Autobiography of Malcolm X for the first few chapters of this book, which is interesting considering the many issues he has with that text.
He captures the hatred and development of the Klan in Omaha and Lansing Michigan where Malcolm grew up and shows how this group developing from Black sheet wearing Black Legions to White Sheet wearing Klansmen many of them Police officers and men who suffered during the great depression. He also talks about White women who had their own sister organization to the Klan who were involved in the same terroristic behaviors as their brethren. This is the world Malcolm grew up in and both of his parents were esteemed Garveyites who sought to change that world, so the idea held expressed by Marable at the outset of the text that Malcolm tried to use his Autobiography to show that the Nation was solely responsible for his Black Consciousness is contradicted by the same text he is critical of.
As Marable says in the Malcolmology, Malcolm when he worked as a cook spoke black conscious talk, which Marable beautifully details in his text citing information from family memoirs and the Autobiography, which contradicts the idea that the Malcolm personally made himself look more ignorant than he was in the text so that he could show the world how the nation lift him up from the degradation he was in as posited by Marable.
Although Malcolm’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz detailed how her Grandmother would make Malcolm X and his siblings study words in the dictionary and in the Autobiography Malcolm X spoke of how as a child he was the class president in school and he wanted to be a lawyer and was told by his white teacher that “niggers” cannot aspire to be lawyers. There are many cases when Malcolm mentioned later in life that he wished that he could have been a lawyer. In many ways he was defending the rights of African and other oppressed people across the globe.
However, Manning’s account of the great migration to northern cities by blacks and reasons behind it or captured beautifully and reminds so much of his seminal text How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America. He is at is best providing the historical narrative behind these rough times and brings forth great understanding of the revolutionary consciousness of wearing a zoot suit and conk in the heir, which Malcolm would later say was an attempt to copy the white man but as many have noted they could have been emulating Hispanics and the ideas of middle class blacks. This is still copying of the oppressor no matter how you slice it.
In his analysis of Malcolm’s criminal years he asserts that Malcolm purposely embellished his life style as a criminal by saying that he could not find an extensive criminal record. A good criminal does not always get caught for one. Two, he mentions that Malcolm stuck someone up at gun point but never mention it in his autobiography but this is never explained, and anyone would takes a gun and sticks someone up with it is a harden criminal.
Also Marable finds more detailed information about Malcolm selling bricks or keys of Marijuana as mentioned in the Autobiography of Malcolm X. Besides, he spent 6 years in prison for possession of firearms, Burglary, Grand Larceny and sleeping with White women. It is not clear in this text what about Malcolm’s criminal past was exaggerated so that he could make people believe in the redemptive powers of Elijah Muhammad.
Also to add, Malcolm X chose the nation over his brother who violated nation rules and ironically two of his brothers denounced him publically and told a Nation of Islam audience that they would not be attending the funeral of their blood brother. This part is very sad and overlooked by most.
Marable thought-out his text tries to engage the reader in the concept of reinvention by analyzing the various names Malcolm was known by in his life. However, there is one name that he did not use and that was the Yoruba name of Omowale, which means the child has returned. My sense is that Manning Marable not being a Pan Africanist or African centered did not see the importance of this name in accessing the growth or the reinvention as he sees it of Malcolm X.
Hence, this is why he classifies Pan Africanism as a “Race Neutral Philosophy” to fit in to his Social democratic white integrationist idea of Shabazz’s evolution being connected to the rise of Barack Obama who in no way shape or form represents the vision of Malcolm X as Marable desperately tries to convince the reader of but fails miserably in doing so. Especially when he says, Malcolm if he were alive would have to restructure his thought process regarding racism and white supremacy due in part to the fall of legal segregation “in an America that to many is post racial.”
The definition that Manning gives for Pan-Africanism in the epilogue does not coincide with that of the definition provided in the 1st chapter, “The belief in Africa ultimate political independence, and that of all colonial states in which blacks lived was the essential goal.” I struggle to comprehend how this equates to a race neutral philosophy and furthermore what is his definition of race neutral. As KRS-One once said in a song “who are they to be equal to”. This calls in to question if one can be truly equal to the very people in society who have benefitted from your oppression. Such a system has systemic inequalities inherently built in so can you truly get equality under the same system that oppresses you? Because as many of us have seen racist vitriol spewed at the President as when one commentator compared him to a crack head, and Rush Limbaugh and another senator made negative comments about the first ladies posterior are some of many examples of how this post racial talk is foolish.
Marable says, Malcolm had rejected violence for its own sake, which sounds like a lot of intellectual masturbation because Malcolm always spoke of self-defense and revolution to bring about change as a member of the nation of Islam and when he left to form Muslim Mosque incorporated and The Organization of African Unity that Manning says Dr. John Henrik Clarke helped to name he still believed that we African people should defend themselves against direct or indirect oppression by any means necessary.
Hence, this is why it is bizarre for Marable to make the above comment when it is he who says Malcolm embraced the race neutral concepts of Pan- Africanism and Third World Revolution. The latter of which, means that you are not sitting around waiting for change you are forcing into fruition by killing and maiming your oppressor.
Marable in trying to buttress the validity of this text, takes a swipe of 90s literature written on Malcolm X in the acknowledgement and research notes section of the text. This is strange based on his reliance on Karl Evanzz work for example as Karl Evanzz noted in his hold no bars critique of the text, Chapter 7 of the text relies greatly on his work a bio of Elijah Muhammad called The Messenger published in 1999.
For Marable’s supposedly new information on the death of Malcolm X, which he wanted to be used as per his wife to open a State Department investigation of the murder, He uses Evanzz’s Judas Factor and Zak Kondo’s Conspiracies, to pin the murder on the NYPD Boss unit deliberately ignoring the coming assassination and the evidence pinpointing the 5 assassins coming from the Newark Mosque. All written in the 1990s, and he leans on the research of Omar Shabazz, Goldman, to corroborate that Willie Bradley actually fired the first shots that initially killed was never arrested for the murder. He also accuses Sharon 6x and Linwood Cartwart of being assailants who helped plan his death, for which the estate of Marable and Viking publishers are being sued for 50 million dollars according to John Andrew Morrow.
Why would you rely on these texts for the final chapters of your book so heavily, when you state that that in the 90s the text produced did not use enough primary sources when this text does not utilize primary sources for the most part to substantiate much of the information provided and relies on secondary sources that are chastised for not making use of primary sources. This indeed is the height of hypocrisy among the many contradictory statements the text is laced with. Surely, he should have given James Cones author of the text, Martin and Malcolm, credit for the blow-by-blow comparison of the two iconic leaders. This could have been the opportunity to critically analyze the purported flaws of these text, but he fails to do so which for many critics is eye opening
An incident of classic class bias is present when Marable states that Malcolm supposedly lost a debate to Rustin, because at the time he said that African Americans should be provided with separate states if they were not to be respected in this society. Conversely, in the second debate when he reads the text the Black Bourgeois by E. Franklin Frazier, which looks at the divide between the middle to upper class Blacks and those who are struggling or poor who do not have higher education and good jobs of the Black elite. He says Malcolm won that debate because he hammered home the argument of a Ph. D African American scholar. Also he says in the final chapter of the book that Malcolm although he studied and loved history was not a historian, which displays the further the class bias of Marable. There are many people in the African descendant community like John Henrik Clarke, and JA Rogers did not become historians in the Western European sense, but did the work and made as many if not more great contributions to the scholarship of our history.
He does not give him credit when he advances and argument by Elijah Muhammad that as Amiri Baraka pointed out in his review is indicative of Lenin’s argument in his day for the Russian peasantry, but when he makes an argument about class which is more along the lines of Marable’s thinking since he was a democratic socialist he says he won the debate. Additionally, anytime that Malcolm X argues for separating from the racist white supremacist society he says he is wrong not considering the violence that Blacks were facing in this era. This is the typical stance of the elite cadre of Blacks speaking on behalf of the people at the time especially leaders of the NAACP.
However, he makes an extremely accurate comparison of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. as it relates to the class issue. He references the difference between the two men in terms of the difference class wise in their upbringings. Displaying what he calls Martin Luther King’s “petit bourgeoisie” status that allowed the upper middle class African Americans to vie for his leadership and place him ahead of E.D. Nixon as the leader of the Montgomery bus boycott. Malcolm X only completed a ninth grade due to his struggles represented the lower class of Blacks from the beginning whereas Martin had to get there as per Cornel West.
Marable uses the Malcolm’s “Message to the Grassroots” speech to show Malcolm’s searing critique of the Black middle class and their compromises with the white power structure that did not benefit the lower class blacks. This is the House Negro/Nigger behavior that he describes in the same speech. What would Malcolm say about the feelings racist Whites had and still have for Black Ph.Ds: “A Nigga that’s what the white man calls him.” This just makes the point that even if you are the president of the United States there are lower, middle and upper class Whites that still view with contempt despite your accomplishments
He said as many have noted that he would provide Lava like information from George Reed who has the chapters of the autobiography that were never published, but he was only allowed to see them for 15 minutes so what was Marable speaking about. Since Reed promises to publish this material he would not allow Marable to have too much time looking at these documents that encapsulate the political vision of Malcolm’s OAU.
Another element that stands out about Marable’s text, is his vivid details of Malcolm X’s travel to The Muslim world and throughout Africa. He really shows the international vision of Malcolm as he uses his diaries along with Jan Carew’s text Ghosts in Our Blood: With Malcolm X in Africa, England, and the Caribbean to provide vivid detail of his political engagements for the liberation and unification of African and third world peoples across the globe. He does a brilliant Job of showing Malcolm’s relationship with the heads the African heads of states of that like Nzikwe, Toure, Nkrumah, Kenyatta etc.
In Marable’s attempt to unclothe Malcolm’s sexism, as a member of the nation of Islam and a White dominated, racist and sexist society, he to became victim to certain sexist viewpoints but as Marable failed to mention in his text, Malcolm when he traveled to Africa was advised by Victoria Garvin an influential Brooklyn activists, who accompanied him on his trip to Algeria and helped to translate for him, she arranged meetings for him with Cuban and Chinese embassaries. Shirley Dubois who Manning briefly speaks of her relations with him introduced him to Kwame Nkrumah. Manning does touch on his respect and work with Fannie Lou Hamer and the leadership positions he gave Lynn Shifflet in the OAU and a Japanese member Yuir Kochiyama’s.
While he chastises Malcolm for some of his supposed treatment of Betty on gender lines he does remark that he wanted her to pay her own bills since they were created before their marriage and he admired her education. In another text sisters in the struggle the writer acknowledges her issues with Malcolm X concerning Women but she does acknowledge his evolution as pointed out other Black women writers who revere him. Manning does speak about Mayo Angelou’s dedicated support of Malcolm X but does not mention what Garvin says of her, Sharon Graham Dubois, and Angelou serving as she terms mother hens for Malcolm X (mentioned in the text Want to Start A Revolution? Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle, and Sisters in the Struggle).
It is surprising that a text with all these inaccuracies would receive a Pulitzer Prize and the fact that this is the only text for which Manning ever was listed on the New York Times best seller list is rather telling. This work unfortunately seems as though it is diminishing Malcolm X but with the release of By Any Means Necessary: Malcolm X: Real, Not invented we see that his legacy is still intact. As opposed to what Ta Nehisi Coates wrote in his review when he said Malcolm did not have a cohesive philosophy like Martin King who had nonviolence. This is a short sighted look because the phrase “By any means necessary” means Malcolm X strived to liberate oppressed people through his undying love for them. As Cornel West aptly stated he had an undying love for African/Black people and all oppressed people. Hence this is why as Marable did a brilliantly job of illustrating when he was able to go to Cairo and get scholarships for students in his org to study abroad more than the nation of Islam could get. His organization was to become more legitimate in the Islamic world so this is another reason that the nation and America would and him dead. To compare him to President Barack Obama who compromises, bombs Africa and capitulates to the White power structure does not connect him to Malcolm X. Malcolm X would have been very critical of President Obama, so this connection is ridiculous.
You can’t even compare President Obama Martin King because if you want to make change you can’t become president that requires selling your proverbial soul. This comparison by Manning and the likes of Coates the latter of which is a huge critic of the president is totally ludicrous and blasphemous at best. They want to create a soften image under the guise of humanizing Malcolm who was evolving and was so great that to Elijah Muhammad’s sons agreed and looked upon him even when he split from the Nation. A man according to Earl Grant one of Malcolm’s most trusted aids in and interview he did for the late Gil Noble’s Like It Is, who spared the lives of Elijah Muhammad and any member of the Nation who wanted him dead because he turned down the offer of reputed Harlem Gangster Bumpy Johnson to kill off any one trying to take his life since Malcolm said he did not want Back men killing other Black men. He as Marable explains using Dr. Clarke as a source could have taken millions of dollars from the Saudi’s and other Arab leaders and moved to the so-called Middle East and lived on. He also could have become a professor at the Ghanaian University, but he did not seek to run from heat.
I would be remised if I did not mention that this work in many ways so betrays the usual copious work of Dr. Marable that judging from his interviews before the text came out and his other works, I think the authorship of this text should seriously be investigated because it is hard to believe that this work full of unproven accusations, assumptions, typographical errors, incorrect dates and character assassinations was penned by Marable. If you look at the Malcolmology you can get an idea of how sick Marable was in his last days. His appearance to me was in stark contrast to what I saw at a conference at Columbia on the Teaching the Levees curriculum. Based on this, research assistances were helping him along the way and maybe responsible for the eras. This text could have been written with the unscrupulous purpose of changing the power and influence of Malcolm X. As KRS-One said on a track from his 2007 album collaboration with Marley Marl, “Nothing New yall cats ain’t saying noting new!” Unfortunately this text does not offer any new incite on Malcolm X, and it even rehashes old rumors that were never substantiated, but it gets us talking about him and hopefully doing our own research
Malcolm X was not perfect because none of us is, but he was brave and gave his life for us and at least we can do his memory well and love each other instead of killing and tearing one another down like crabs in a barrel. This book unfortunately is guilty of that attempt. But as Ivan Van Sertima said, the truth crushed to the ground will rise 500 times higher. And so, it is Malcolm X the defender of our humanity that will continue to rise and deflect attacks even from our writers and historians. He shall rise like Mayo Angelou says in her famous poem and crush the people that who do not want him to be deified as Gods because they are jealous of his accomplishments and angulation he receives the world over as Ilyasah Shabazz his daughter said, “My father’s legacy is in tact.”
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