Manning Marable, historian and author of the newly released biography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, died on Friday from complications of pneumonia at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. According to his wife of 15 years, Leith Mullings, Marable had suffered from sarcoidosis for 24 years, a disease characterized by the inflammation of the lungs, and had undergone a double-lung transplant in July 2010.
Marable grew up in a middle-class family in Dayton, OH. His father was a teacher and businessman, and his mother was a college professor. According to excerpts from his 1996 book, Speaking Truth to Power: Essays on Race, Resistance and Radicalism, while he was not necessarily active in the fight for equality at the time, having been born on May 13, 1950, he was very aware of the struggles black Americans were making in the 1960s, particularly in the South. He recalled the actions of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. And, when King was assassinated in 1968, Marable’s mother encouraged him to attend the funeral, as she understood that it would be viewed someday as a pivotal moment in American history. Marable had the opportunity to serve as the local black newspaper’s correspondent for the funeral, and marched, along with thousands, in the funeral procession.
Marable earned a bachelor’s degree from Earlham College in Indiana; a master’s from the University of Wisconsin; and a doctorate from the University of Maryland. Writing was an important part of his life and career, and he wrote hundreds of papers and close to 20 books. Most of his works involved the history and evolution of life for black citizens in America. He was a professor of African American studies, history, political science and public affairs at Columbia University, and director of the school’s Center for Contemporary Black History.
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, is being released today, and is an almost 600-page biography, reevaluating the life of Malcolm X. Marable conducted extensive research for the book, reading through thousands of FBI files and records from the Central Intelligence Agency and State Department. And, Marable also held interviews with friends of Malcolm X; members of his security team; and Marable also had the opportunity to speak with witnesses to the actual assassination.
Benjamin Todd Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in a statement that Marable's "contributions to the struggle for freedom of African Americans will never be forgotten."
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