Prolific Author Writes Malcolm X Assassination Left Autobiography in Peril

Marable Manning

The world lost Marable Manning April 1.  He is one of the most prolific celebrated authors of the black experience.  He was in the process of writing yet another book, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention”, when he passed away.  The book was nearly completed and the most interesting aspects were already included. 

According to Richard Prince’s Journal-isms, the author wrote about how Malcolm X’s assassination affected Alex Haley’s autobiography of Malcolm X.  Immediately following Malcolm’s assassination, the autobiography was in trouble.  The deal had already been struck with Doubleday and Haley contacted the publishing company owned by Nelson Doubleday, to let them know there would be financial concerns between themselves and Betty Shabazz.  She would definitely need an advance on the book.

But, Doubleday turned their backs on the project, cancelled the contract, and Betty (pregnant at the time) and her four girls were left scrambling for money. She had already been left without a home.  Marable writes:

“She hasn’t a home since last week they moved in the middle of the night, just ahead of the next day’s legal eviction to return the honor to the Muslims. And Malcolm, talking with me yesterday, said that he had ‘two or three hundred dollars,’ which would be the total extent of Sister Betty’s funds.'”

Well we know that the autobiography was printed, but on a more radical press called Grove Press.  Marable also gave further insight into Alex Haley.  What we thought was a friendship between him and Malcolm was a little more complicated than that.  Marable writes that Haley was a Republican and “He despised Malcolm X’s black nationalist creed. But he was a journalist, and he understood the power of charisma.”

Read more here on what is turning out to be another interesting and informative read from Marable Manning.

-J.C. Brooks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *