Fifty years ago, on February 21st, Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little, was gunned down in the Audubon Ballroom in New York City. Controversy still surrounds his assassination as to who was really responsible for it. For much of the month of February, various media have produced articles, blogs, and newscasts in anticipation of this half-century. Reading these, we learn just how complex a man Malcolm was. He was such a controversial character, for so long, because of his association with the Nation of Islam, and their teachings.
In Manning Marable's thoroughly researched biography, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, he takes us through various chapters of Malcolm's life to show us how at every stage, Malcolm reinvented himself, invention as a quest as Marable asserts, "to discern the meaning and substance of faith" (12). From an Islam that embraced black supremacy to an Islam he saw as all-encompassing when he was performing the Haj, the holy pilgrimage in Mecca, Malcolm expanded his ministry to be more inclusive, and anti-racist. His main concern remained the building up of African-Americans, and the fight for their rights and their dignity as human beings. There are those who still focus on his "by any means necessary", and his earlier separatism, and do not look any further than that, cannot know the real Malcolm. Even Manning Marable could only know the historical Malcolm, to shed greater light in paths dim, and unknown to many. It was a study to which he dedicated many years of his life. Marable, himself, died a few days before the publication of this book, and it remains part of his legacy.
Your library has Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, as well as other materials on Malcolm X. Stop by, check it out. Or wander into our audio/video room and check out the Spike Lee film.