Manning Marable, Historian and Social Critic, Dies at 60

The intern blog below is a commentary on a recent article in the New York Times
commemorating the late Professor Manning Marable, author of Malcolm X: A Life of
Reinvention a riveting and insightful biography of Malcolm X, a well known Civil Rights
activist.

Professor Manning Marable’s contributions to the field of African American studies are highly
significant. He founded and directed the Institute for Research in African American Studies and
taught courses in the fields of public affairs, history and African American studies at Columbia
University. Most recent among his many accomplishments is the biography on Malcolm X
that sheds light on many of the things left out or skewed by Malcolm X in his autobiography.
Malcolm X, was a human rights activist and was most well-known for his advocacy of African
American rights. One of Malcolm X’s most famous speeches, “The Ballot or the Bullet,” urges
African Americans to stand up for their rights and to use their influence on American society to
gain civil rights. Much like Malcolm, Professor Marable addressed issues involving racial and
economic injustice in American society. The article states that Marable “urged black Americans
to transform existing social structures and bring about a more egalitarian society by making
common cause with other minorities and change-minded groups like environmentalists.” The
tragic death of Professor Manning Marable has particularly affected me, as I am a student at
Columbia University currently enrolled in the introductory course to American Studies, which
addressed Malcolm X and the late professor Marable this week in class.

Manning Marable, Historian and Social Critic, Dies at 60

The intern blog below is a commentary on a recent article in the New York Timescommemorating the late Professor Manning Marable, author of Malcolm X: A Life ofReinvention a riveting and insightful biography of Malcolm X, a well known Civil Rightsactivist.
Professor Manning Marable’s contributions to the field of African American studies are highlysignificant. He founded and directed the Institute for Research in African American Studies andtaught courses in the fields of public affairs, history and African American studies at ColumbiaUniversity. Most recent among his many accomplishments is the biography on Malcolm Xthat sheds light on many of the things left out or skewed by Malcolm X in his autobiography.Malcolm X, was a human rights activist and was most well-known for his advocacy of AfricanAmerican rights. One of Malcolm X’s most famous speeches, “The Ballot or the Bullet,” urgesAfrican Americans to stand up for their rights and to use their influence on American society togain civil rights. Much like Malcolm, Professor Marable addressed issues involving racial andeconomic injustice in American society. The article states that Marable “urged black Americansto transform existing social structures and bring about a more egalitarian society by makingcommon cause with other minorities and change-minded groups like environmentalists.” Thetragic death of Professor Manning Marable has particularly affected me, as I am a student atColumbia University currently enrolled in the introductory course to American Studies, whichaddressed Malcolm X and the late professor Marable this week in class.
Manning Marable, Historian and Social Critic, Dies at 60By WILLIAM GRIMESManning Marable, a leading scholar of black history and a leftist critic of American socialinstitutions and race relations, whose long-awaited biography of Malcolm X, more than a decadein the writing, is scheduled to be published on Monday, died on Friday in Manhattan. He was 60.
His wife, Leith Mullings, said that the cause was not known but that Mr. Marable, who livedin Manhattan, had entered the hospital with pneumonia in early March. In July 2010, he hadundergone a double lung transplant.
Mr. Marable, a prolific writer and impassioned polemicist, addressed issues of race andeconomic injustice in numerous works that established him as one of the most forceful andoutspoken scholars of African-American history and race relations in the United States.
He explored this territory in books like “How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America”(1983), “Black Liberation in Conservative America” (1997) and “The Great Wells ofDemocracy” (2003), and in a political column, “Along the Color Line,” which was syndicated inmore than 100 newspapers.
At nearly 600 pages, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” to be published by Viking, presents ahefty counterweight to the well-known account “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”
The autobiography, long considered a classic of the 1960s civil rights struggle, was an “as toldto” book written with Alex Haley and published in 1965.
Mr. Marable, drawing on new sources, archival material and government documents unavailableto Mr. Haley, developed a fuller account of Malcolm X’s politics, religious beliefs and personallife, as well as his role in the civil rights movement and the circumstances of his assassination.
He also offers a revisionist portrait of Malcolm X at odds with Mr. Haley’s presentation of himas an evolving integrationist.
“We need to look at the organic evolution of his mind and how he struggled to find differentways to empower people of African descent by any means necessary,” Mr. Marable said in a2007 interview with Amy Goodman on the radio program “Democracy Now.”
Mr. Marable’s political philosophy was often described as transformationist, as opposed tointegrationist or separatist. That is, he urged black Americans to transform existing socialstructures and bring about a more egalitarian society by making common cause with otherminorities and change-minded groups like environmentalists.
“By dismantling the narrow politics of racial identity and selective self-interest, by goingbeyond ‘black’ and ‘white,’ we may construct new values, new institutions and new visions ofan America beyond traditional racial categories and racial oppression,” he wrote in the essaycollection “Beyond Black and White: Transforming African-American Politics” (1995).
In a telephone interview on Friday, the scholar and author Cornel West called Mr. Marable “ourgrand radical democratic intellectual,” adding, “He kept alive the democratic socialist tradition inthe black freedom movement, and I had great love and respect for him.”
William Manning Marable was born on May 13, 1950, in Dayton, Ohio. He earned a bachelor’sdegree from Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., and a master’s degree from the University ofWisconsin before receiving his doctorate from the University of Maryland in 1976.
He directed ethnic studies programs at a number of colleges, notably the Race Relations Instituteat Fisk University and the Africana and Latin American Studies program at Colgate University.
He was the chairman of the black studies department at Ohio State University in the late 1980sand also taught ethnic studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
At Columbia University, where he became a professor of public affairs, political science, historyand African-American studies in 1993, he was the founding director of the Institute for Researchin African-American Studies and the Center for the Study of Contemporary Black History.
In addition to his wife, who teaches anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City Universityof New York and who co-edited several of his books, Mr. Marable is survived by three children,Joshua Manning Marable of Boulder; Malaika Marable Serrano of Silver Spring, Md.; andSojourner Marable Grimmett of Atlanta; two stepchildren, Alia Tyner of Manhattan and MichaelTyner of Brooklyn; a sister, Madonna Marable of Dayton; and three grandchildren.
His other books included “Race, Reform and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction in BlackAmerica, 1945-1982” (1984) and “The Great Wells of Democracy : The Meaning of Race inAmerican Life” ( 2002), as well as two biographies published in 2005, “W. E. B. DuBois: BlackRadical Democrat” and “The Autobiography of Medgar Evers,” which he edited with MyrlieEvers-Williams, Evers’s widow.
He was the general editor of “Freedom on My Mind: The Columbia Documentary History of theAfrican American Experience” (2003).
In 1992 he published “On Malcolm X: His Message and Meaning,” a work that prefigured theconsuming project of his later years. “Beyond Boundaries: The Manning Marable Reader,” aselection of his writings, was published in January by Paradigm.

By WILLIAM GRIMES
Manning Marable, a leading scholar of black history and a leftist critic of American social
institutions and race relations, whose long-awaited biography of Malcolm X, more than a decade
in the writing, is scheduled to be published on Monday, died on Friday in Manhattan. He was 60.
His wife, Leith Mullings, said that the cause was not known but that Mr. Marable, who lived
in Manhattan, had entered the hospital with pneumonia in early March. In July 2010, he had
undergone a double lung transplant.
Mr. Marable, a prolific writer and impassioned polemicist, addressed issues of race and
economic injustice in numerous works that established him as one of the most forceful and
outspoken scholars of African-American history and race relations in the United States.
He explored this territory in books like “How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America”
(1983), “Black Liberation in Conservative America” (1997) and “The Great Wells of
Democracy” (2003), and in a political column, “Along the Color Line,” which was syndicated in
more than 100 newspapers.
At nearly 600 pages, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” to be published by Viking, presents a
hefty counterweight to the well-known account “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”
The autobiography, long considered a classic of the 1960s civil rights struggle, was an “as told
to” book written with Alex Haley and published in 1965.
Mr. Marable, drawing on new sources, archival material and government documents unavailable
to Mr. Haley, developed a fuller account of Malcolm X’s politics, religious beliefs and personal
life, as well as his role in the civil rights movement and the circumstances of his assassination.
He also offers a revisionist portrait of Malcolm X at odds with Mr. Haley’s presentation of him
as an evolving integrationist.
“We need to look at the organic evolution of his mind and how he struggled to find different
ways to empower people of African descent by any means necessary,” Mr. Marable said in a
2007 interview with Amy Goodman on the radio program “Democracy Now.”
Mr. Marable’s political philosophy was often described as transformationist, as opposed to
integrationist or separatist. That is, he urged black Americans to transform existing social
structures and bring about a more egalitarian society by making common cause with other
minorities and change-minded groups like environmentalists.
“By dismantling the narrow politics of racial identity and selective self-interest, by going
beyond ‘black’ and ‘white,’ we may construct new values, new institutions and new visions of
an America beyond traditional racial categories and racial oppression,” he wrote in the essay
collection “Beyond Black and White: Transforming African-American Politics” (1995).
In a telephone interview on Friday, the scholar and author Cornel West called Mr. Marable “our
grand radical democratic intellectual,” adding, “He kept alive the democratic socialist tradition in
the black freedom movement, and I had great love and respect for him.”
William Manning Marable was born on May 13, 1950, in Dayton, Ohio. He earned a bachelor’s
degree from Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., and a master’s degree from the University of
Wisconsin before receiving his doctorate from the University of Maryland in 1976.
He directed ethnic studies programs at a number of colleges, notably the Race Relations Institute
at Fisk University and the Africana and Latin American Studies program at Colgate University.
He was the chairman of the black studies department at Ohio State University in the late 1980s
and also taught ethnic studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
At Columbia University, where he became a professor of public affairs, political science, history
and African-American studies in 1993, he was the founding director of the Institute for Research
in African-American Studies and the Center for the Study of Contemporary Black History.
In addition to his wife, who teaches anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University
of New York and who co-edited several of his books, Mr. Marable is survived by three children,
Joshua Manning Marable of Boulder; Malaika Marable Serrano of Silver Spring, Md.; and
Sojourner Marable Grimmett of Atlanta; two stepchildren, Alia Tyner of Manhattan and Michael
Tyner of Brooklyn; a sister, Madonna Marable of Dayton; and three grandchildren.
His other books included “Race, Reform and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction in Black
America, 1945-1982” (1984) and “The Great Wells of Democracy : The Meaning of Race in
American Life” ( 2002), as well as two biographies published in 2005, “W. E. B. DuBois: Black
Radical Democrat” and “The Autobiography of Medgar Evers,” which he edited with Myrlie
Evers-Williams, Evers’s widow.
He was the general editor of “Freedom on My Mind: The Columbia Documentary History of the
African American Experience” (2003).
In 1992 he published “On Malcolm X: His Message and Meaning,” a work that prefigured the
consuming project of his later years. “Beyond Boundaries: The Manning Marable Reader,” a
selection of his writings, was published in January by Paradigm.
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