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Malcolm X: A Man of Reinvention
6 years ago
| Surprise Me

Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age thirty-nine.


Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.


Manning Marable's new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X 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. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.



Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention Cover

Columbia University professor Manning Marable died at age 60 on Friday, just three days before the publication of his life's work, a comprehensive biography of Malcolm X. Guest host David Greene speaks with Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson about Marable and his book, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, which comes out on Monday.
6 years ago

When I was a kid, hearing the name Malcolm X was scary for some reason.  Yes, I am caucasian. 


Around the time that the movie came out, I decided to read the Autobiography.  I found him to be an amzing and gifted man.  I think it is very unfortunate that he died so young.  I think of how much he could have done. 


I want to read this new book.  I will enjoy learning more about Malcolm X.  BTW, my Dad was born in the same year and also had the name Malcolm.  And I, his oldest child, was born in the same year as Malcolm X's oldest child (a daughter?).

6 years ago

Nancy:  Malcolm X was a prominent leader in Boston and that was when he turned his life around and was active as a Panther for the promotion of civil rights.  I was very young but I leaned radical in high school (I did not like people who bombed Federal building though).   I went to integrated schools before bussing was law and I can thank my father for insisting upon that.  I also went to a school where I was amongst the Boston Brahmins who were born with a seat at Harvard.  I went to private Catholic school as well. 


Malcolm X was a subject of controversy; perhaps as he grew and evolved in this city and much was made of him.   I have the movie saved on my DVR ... Denzel Washington plays him.  I am going to watch it this afternoon. 


Malcolm X was a very intelligent and gifted man.  I have watched his videos online and I am surprised at the strong resemblance of his looks, speeches, voice and body language to Barack H. Obama.  It amazes me ... the strong physical, emotional and gestures both emanate. 


However, Malcolm X was fearless.  Different upbringings and lives, being in prison and surviving that ordeal would diffuse an element of strong survival and leadership.

I too, definately want to read that biography and I hope we can keep it alive as a new topic for discussion.

This post was modified from its original form on 03 Apr, 12:08
6 years ago

Yeah, I had forgotten about him living in Boston- at the same time as my DAD!


I wonder what his life would have been like if he were, born at a different time.


6 years ago

Malcolm X was one of my "teen" heroes. Nice to be able to say that without a death threat!!!! BUT, he wasn't all good either.  Bit like Nelson Mandella, who was a terrorist and is now a hero. The age old queston......does the end justify the means?

6 years ago

David: the video is great; but they are NOT pictures or videos of Malcolm X but others. There are better videos out there of Malcolm X speaking .... that clip is of MLK, Powell and others, yes, stills of Malcolm X. The speeches show him at his best. Malcolm X converted in prison and he did not become religious and unbiased till he went to Mecca; it was then that he learned HATRED was a prison! Hatred of whites was not how he died; he wanted mutual understanding. He was killed by those within the Muslim church who had many different reasons, personal jealousies as he was getting way too much press; he was charismatic and the media ate him up. Obama has his charisma; but does he have his balls? Listening to his speech towards the end; he speaks for ALL of us know. 'Our' people is ALL the working class people today. His speeches and idealogy are memorable as they are timeless; they transcend the days he lived as they are representative of today.

6 years ago


A whole bunch of video clips and speeches of Malcolm X.  Here you see the resemblance.  His speech 'When the chickens come home to roost'  was borrowed by Rev. Jeremiah Wright.  now wonder; Obama liked Rev. Wright ...he sounded a lot like the early days of Malcolm X. 

6 years ago the video clip (The KKK killed my father) is most revealing.....


His family was split up after his father's death and his mother became mentally ill.  He was sent to a home where he was the only black child.  He was also the smartest child in the home, best grades and brightest mind.  The children all followed him and they were all white children.  He was a leader way way back ... I remember him from my very early youth as a man who said provocative things and in the end ... he spoke the truth.  He always was charismatic, even as a thug.  That is why he evoked so much attention.  In Mecca, he was followed by the CIA.   You bet, the CIA has a thick dossier on him.  The CIA has dossiers on whomever they want.  


Obama weakened the CIA when he came into office.  He over-stepped them by setting up some bureau within the WH, anyone remember that ploy?



This post was modified from its original form on 04 Apr, 5:24
6 years ago

His speech at Oxford Univ. England is his total transformation ... a Man who transcended race.

6 years ago

I think the Ballot or Bullet speeches is one of his most important speeches

6 years ago

The Ballot or Bullet is a major turning point where he left violence for the political scene, he knew power was in the ballot and not the bullet.  All of his latter speeches showed his growth into a man who found peace more important than violence.  I believed he grew through his faith in Islam and his experiences throughout his life.  He was a very, very intelligent man and as I said, he was a leader as a child.  The white children flocked around him.


I know much of him from my parents, I was school aged and I always listened to my father's debates in the house with people he invited over and Malcolm X was a subject of high interest and in Boston, Malcolm X was considered a folk hero.  I don't know anyone who did not like him or respect him.


This post was modified from its original form on 04 Apr, 6:26
6 years ago

I am going to share this here, I decided I would ....


My supervisor is a major player in the Birther movement in Boston.  THey have just about given up on the birth certificate issue as the live birth certificate is legal.  I asked her point blank did she have issues on the paternal aspect of Obama.  She does, she thinks as I do who his daddy really happens to be.


I will leave it at that!

The Whole page of Videos are Great....
6 years ago

Sorry to some I hope you won't get offended, I just love this whole page ...


the video is awsome in my view:

6 years ago

This is just an alternate theory expressed by many; interesting videos of Malcolm X's grandson doing a take off of his grandfather.  Commentaries are hilarious also, Frank Marshall's son???  I doubt that one.


Interesting that Obama's stomping grounds were NYC, Boston and Chicago.  

excerpt from the book
6 years ago

From Chapter 7, “As Sure as God Made Green Apples”


Malcolm may have publicly commanded his followers to obey the law, but this did little to lessen suspicion of the Muslims by law enforcement in major cities. Nowhere did tensions run hotter than in Los Angeles, where Malcolm had established Temple No. 27 in 1957. For most whites who migrated to the city, Los Angeles was the quintessential city of dreams.

For black migrants, the city of endless possibilities offered some of the same Jim Crow restrictions they had sought to escape by moving west. As early as 1915, black Los Angeles residents were protesting against racially restrictive housing covenants; such racial covenants as well as blatant discrimination by real estate firms continued to be a problem well into the 1960s. The real growth of the black community in Southern California only began to take place during the two decades after 1945.


During this twenty-year period, when the black population of New York City increased by nearly 250 percent, the black population of Los Angeles jumped 800 percent. Blacks were also increasingly important in local trade unions, and in the economy generally. For example, between 1940 and 1960, the percentage of black males in LA working as factory operatives increased from 15 percent to 24 percent; the proportion of African-American men employed in crafts during the same period rose from 7 percent to 14 percent. By 1960, 468,000 blacks resided in Los Angeles County, approximately 20 percent of the county’s population.


These were some of the reasons that Malcolm had invested so much energy and effort to build the NOI’s presence in Southern California, and especially the development of Mosque No. 27. Having recruited the mosque’s leaders, he flew out to settle a local factional dispute in October 1961. Such activities were noticed and monitored by the California Senate Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities, which feared that the NOI had “Communist affiliations.” The state committee concluded that there was an “interesting parallel between the Negro Muslim movement and the Communist Party, and that is the advocacy of the overthrow of a hated regime by force, violence or any other means.”


On September 2, 1961, several Muslims selling Muhammad Speaks in a South Central Los Angeles grocery store parking lot were harassed by two white store detectives. The detectives later claimed that when they had attempted to stop the Muslims from selling the paper, they were “stomped and beaten.” The version of this incident described in Muhammad Speaks was strikingly different, with the paper claiming that “the two ‘detectives’ produced guns, and attempted to make a ‘citizen’s arrest.’ Grocery packers rushed out to help the detectives . . . and black residents of the area who had gathered also became involved. For 45 minutes bedlam reigned.”


About forty Los Angeles Police Department officers were dispatched to the scene to restore order. Five Muslims were arrested. At their subsequent trial, the store’s owner and manager confirmed that the NOI had been given permission to peddle their newspapers in the parking lot. An all-white jury acquitted the Muslims on all charges.


Following the parking lot mêlée, the LAPD was primed for retaliation against the local NOI. The city’s police commissioner, William H. Parker, had even read Lincoln’s The Black Muslims in America, and viewed the sect as subversive and dangerous, capable of producing widespread unrest. He instructed his officers to closely monitor the mosque’s activities, which is why, just after midnight on April 27, 1962, when two officers observed what looked to them like men taking clothes out of the back of a car outside the mosque, they approached with suspicion.


What happened next is a matter of dispute, yet whether the police were jumped, as they claimed, or the Muslim men were shoved and beaten without provocation, as seems likely, the commotion brought a stream of angry Muslims out of the mosque. The police threatened to respond with deadly force, but when one officer attempted to intimidate the growing crowd of bystanders, he was disarmed by the crowd. Somehow one officer’s revolver went off, shooting and wounding his partner in the elbow. Backup squad cars soon arrived ferrying more than seventy officers, and a full-scale battle ensued. Within minutes dozens of cops raided the mosque itself, randomly beating NOI members.


It took fifteen minutes for the fighting to die down. In the end, seven Muslims were shot, including NOI member William X Rogers, who was shot in the back and paralyzed for life. NOI officer Ronald Stokes, a Korean War veteran, had attempted to surrender to the police by raising his hands over his head. Police responded by shooting him from the rear; a bullet pierced his heart, killing him. A coroner’s inquest determined that Stokes’s death was “justifiable.” A number of Muslims were indicted.

6 years ago

"Bit like Nelson Mandella, who was a terrorist and is now a hero. The age old queston......does the end justify the means?"


Good point.  My mother has repeatedly said that about Mandela.  I think though in the case of Malcolm X anyway, that he really transformed himself and became a different person.  In that context- sure he's a hero.


On the other hand and speaking of terrorism, I think about the original "Boston Tea Party Patriots" who seized property that did not belong to them and through it overboard, thus destroying it.  Are they heros?  Or are they terrorists?  Or are they like Mandela and Malcolm X- a little of both.

6 years ago

I think the word 'terrorist' is getting thrown around pretty loosely.  It's my understanding that although Mandela traded in his belief in non-violent for violent protests it was never his intention to harm or kill anyone in his efforts to free an oppressed people (who were harmed and killed regularly by their oppressors - intentionally), so I don't get why he's considered a terrorist.

6 years ago

Mandela blew up the Shell Building.


Things are possibly viewed better in retrospect?

6 years ago

History is always written by the victors..

6 years ago
Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"

You cannot currently send a star to David because you have done so within the last week.

6 years ago

"I think the word 'terrorist' is getting thrown around pretty loosely."


Yes, as is the word 'Patriot', IMHO.

6 years ago

Agreed, Nancy

6 years ago

Manning Marable, author of long-awaited Malcolm X biography, dies at 60 By Cristian Salazar, Sunday, April , 8:02 PM


Manning Marable, an influential Columbia University scholar of African American history and culture whose forthcoming Malcolm X biography could revise perceptions of the slain civil rights leader, died April 1, just days before the book described as his life’s work was to be released. He was 60.


His wife, Leith Mullings, said Dr. Marable died from complications of pneumonia at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. She said he had suffered for 24 years from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease, and had a double lung transplant in July.

She said his latest book, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” will be released Monday.


Two decades in the making, the nearly 600-page biography is described as a reevaluation of Malcolm X’s life, bringing fresh insight to such subjects as his autobiography, which is still assigned in many college courses, and his assassination at the Audubon Ballroom in New York on Feb. 21, 1965.

The book is based on exhaustive research, including thousands of pages of FBI files and records from the CIA and State Department. Dr. Marable also conducted interviews with the slain civil rights leader’s confidants and security team, as well as witnesses to his assassination.


Blair Kelley, a history professor at North Carolina State University, called Dr. Marable’s death a “devastating” loss for black historians.

“He really deserved the opportunity to be celebrated for his groundbreaking scholarship,” Kelley wrote on Twitter.


Dr. Marable was born in Dayton, Ohio, on May 13, 1950. He wrote in his 1998 book, “Speaking Truth to Power,” that he was born into the era that witnessed the emergence of Rosa Parks, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and nonviolent movements in the South to combat white supremacy.

But as the child of middle-class black Americans in the North, he watched from afar as African Americans in the South struggled against segregation and racial inequality, he wrote. As a teenager, he found his emergent political voice writing columns for a neighborhood newspaper.


Dr. Marable wrote that his mother encouraged him to attend King’s funeral in Atlanta “to witness a significant event in our people’s history.” As the correspondent for a local black newspaper, he marched with thousands of others in the funeral procession.

“With Martin’s death, my childhood abruptly ended,” he wrote. “My understanding of political change began a trajectory from reform to radicalism.”

Dr. Marable graduated from Earlham College in Indiana in 1971 and received a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1972 and a doctorate in history from the University of Maryland in 1976.


In the 1970s, he was active in the National Black Political Assembly, a community organizing group. He taught at Cornell University, Ohio State University and the University of Colorado before joining the Columbia faculty in 1993.


He lectured widely throughout the country and was co-founder of the Black Radical Congress, an organization of African American activists.

Dr. Marable wrote almost 20 books, including the landmark “How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America” (1983). Before his biography of Malcolm X, he published books on Medgar Evers and W.E.B. Dubois.


At Columbia, he was founding director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies and established the Center for Contemporary Black History.

His marriage to Hazel Ann Marable ended in divorce.


In addition to his second wife, survivors include three children from his first marriage and two stepchildren.


— Associated Press

This post was modified from its original form on 08 Apr, 1:00
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