The Missing Malcolm X the Lost Chapters: A Conversation with Manning Marble
Published by Suhaib Webb on August 19, 2009
The missing Malcolm
An Interview with Manning Marable
IN YOUR new biography of Malcolm, Malcolm X: A Life of the Invention, you discuss three missing chapters from Alex Haley’s collaboration with Malcolm, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. What’s happened to them? And what’s their importance to understanding Malcolm’s life?
THEY’RE IN the safe of an attorney named Gregory Reed. He’s in Detroit, Michigan. They’re in his safe. And, he has them and doesn’t show them to people. Now why does he have them? How did that happen? Well, in late 1992, I believe October, there was an auction of the Alex Haley estate and for $100,000, he bought these chapters that were discarded from the autobiography.
Alex Haley was the ghostwriter and co-author of the book. You have to remember that Haley went on to great fame as the author of Roots, one of the largest-selling books in American history and a docudrama on television that had a profound impact on race relations in the late 1970s. Haley was deeply hostile to Malcolm X’s politics. He was a Republican, he was opposed to Black nationalism, and he was an integrationist. He had been in the Coast Guard for twenty years. But, he also knew a good thing when he saw it.
A charismatic, handsome, articulate Black leader who had a controversial past as a hustler, a pimp, a drug addict, a numbers runner, “Detroit Red,” “Little Gangster,” “Little Bugsy Siegel,” who supposedly terrorized the Harlem community in the 1940s and went to jail and was given ten years in prison. He goes through a metamorphosis, he becomes a Black Muslim, he comes out, he explodes onto the scene. He creates seventy to eighty new mosques in less than ten years, turns a small sect of 400 people into fifty- to one hundred thousand by 1960–62. Then, he turns more overtly to politics, he breaks from the Nation of Islam (NOI), he builds two new organizations, the Muslim Mosque Incorporated in March 1964 and the Organization of Afro-American Unity in May 1964. He goes to Africa and the Mideast. He is treated as the head of state. He is welcomed at the Fateh by the Saudi royal household. He sits down with Gamal, eats breakfast with Anwar Sadat in Egypt. He caucuses and meets and gets to know Che Guevara while he’s in Africa, as he alludes to in a talk in 1964 at the Audubon Ballroom. So Malcolm is this extraordinary figure, dies at the age of thirty-nine. It’s a hell of a story. Haley understood that. And so, it was on those terms he agreed to work with Malcolm to write the book. But, what Malcolm didn’t know was that Haley already was compromised and had basically been a purveyor of information—a kind of, not informant, but a client of the FBI in this disinformation campaign against the NOI. Haley had collaborated with the FBI. Malcolm never knew that. In the summer of sixty-four when Malcolm was in Egypt, Haley was taking the book manuscript and giving it to an attorney, William O’Dwyer, rewriting passages of the book trying to get it passed as Malcolm’s survey. Malcolm’s on the run, people are trying to kill him, they’re trying to poison him in Egypt. He’s not going to have time to look at the book carefully. Then, he dies....
Full Interview herehttp://www.suhaibwebb.com/blog/general/the-missing-malcolm-x-the-lost-chapters-a-conversation-with-manning-marble/