Compiled by Courier Staff
Dr. Manning Marable, an influential scholar and historian died on Friday, April 1, 2011 at the age of 60. Dr. Marable’s latest book described as his life’s work was released this week on Monday, April 4 week entitled “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,”, a book over two decades in the making.
According to published reports his wife, Leith Mullings said 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 undergone a double lung transplant in July of 2010.
“I think his legacy is that he was both a scholar and an activist,” she said. “He believed that history could be used to inform the present and the future.”
Marable’s latest book, the nearly 600 page biography is described as a re-evaluation of Malcolm X’s life, bringing fresh insight to subjects including his autobiography. This book is based on research, including thousands of pages of FBI files and records from the CIA and State Department. Marable also conducted interviews with the slain civil rights leader’s confidants and security team, as well as witnesses to his assassination.
The book also challenges both popular and scholarly portrayals of Malcolm X, describing a man often subject to doubts about theology, politics and other matters.
Dr. Michael Eric Dyson reportedly weighed in on the new book. “This book gives us a richer, more profound, more complicated and more fully fleshed out Malcolm than we have ever had before,” Dyson said. Dyson is the author of “Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X” and a professor of sociology at Georgetown University. He continued, “He’s done a thorough and exhaustive a job as has ever been done in piecing together the life and evolution of Malcolm X, rescuing him from both the hagiography of uncritical advocates and the demonization of undeterred critics.”
The NAACP issued the following statement on the loss of Dr. Manning Marable, who in addition to his many accomplishments also worked as the director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in New York:
“Dr. Marable’s contributions to the struggle for freedom of African Americans will never be forgotten,” stated NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Dr. Marable brought one of the keenest intellects of our age to the contemporary conversation on race in America. As an academic he was never afraid to speak his mind, and as an activist his words carried the gravitas of a published author. His life was dedicated to the struggle, and he will be sorely missed.”
Marable was born in Dayton, Ohio. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Earlham College and his PhD from the University of Maryland. His long career in teaching included, the University of Colorado at Boulder and Ohio State University, were he was chairman of the Department of Black Studies. He also served as the founding director of the Africana and Hispanic Studies Program at Colgate University. He joined Columbia University in 1993, taught as Professor of Public Affairs, Political Science, History and African American Studies. He was also the M.Moran Weston/Black Alumni Council Professor of African American Studies and Cultures. In 1993, he founded the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia, where he served as director until 2003. Under his leadership the Institute became one of the nation’s most prestigious centers of scholarship on the Black American experience.
Marable’s life accomplishments are endless. He was also a regular columnist in the 1980’s-1990’s with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) membered papers, his column ran in The Milwaukee Courier regularly during this time period. Viewed as a race relation authority, Dr. Marable was the keynote speaker in March 2007 at MATC’s 15th Soul Food Celebration hosted by the college’s Black Student Union (BSU) entitled, ‘Building a World Community Beyond Racism’.
A memorial is planned for May 27, 2011 for Dr. Marable. In addition to his wife of 15 years, he is survived by three children and two stepchildren.