Author Topic: May 19, 1925  (Read 1681 times)

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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May 19, 1925
« on: May 24, 2007, 09:05:43 am »
The astute among you (or those who attended public schools in East St. Louis) will recognize 5/19/1925 as the date of birth of Malcolm Little better known as Malcolm X and, later, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.  In honor of the 82nd anniversary of his birth, here is a recent interview with Professor Manning Marable of Columbia University who is working on a new biography of Malcolm X.

Some highlights --
On the Vietnam war:
Quote
AMY GOODMAN: You know, it's interesting. August 10, 1963, that's right before the march on Washington, and here is Malcolm speaking out vehemently against the Vietnam War.

MANNING MARABLE: That’s right.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. King, the famous speech he gave against the war was April 4, 1967.

MANNING MARABLE: That's right. But that just shows you that Malcolm was cutting edge, that Malcolm was the first prominent African American, arguably the first prominent American leader, to come out against the Vietnam War. And this was even during the time that he was in the Nation of Islam. It was Malcolm X who said that we had to go beyond civil rights to human rights. It was Malcolm X who said we don't appeal to the US Congress to interrogate structural racism inside the United States; we take that to the United Nations. Three years later, it was Dr. King that followed out a path that Malcolm had clearly chartered for him, so that the internationalization and the Pan-Africanism of Malcolm that he advocated in 1964, all of that forms the foundation of what becomes Black Power and Pan-Africanism of Stokely Carmichael and the Black Panther Party three, four years later. Malcolm was the forerunner to the explosion of the black liberation struggle throughout the globe and black consciousness in South Africa and in the Caribbean. And so -- but that organically grew out of, not a rupture from his past, but a growth from the foundations that his parents and others had established before, many years before.


On Alex Haley and The Autobiography:
Quote
MANNING MARABLE: That clip was about five years before his death. And Malcolm, at a time when in the Nation of Islam Malcolm ironically was one of the most prominent speakers of African American descent in the United States, within his own organization he was -- he found himself under fire. During 1962 and early ’63, Malcolm -- the Nation of Islam’s major newspaper that Malcolm had co-founded, Muhammad Speaks, refused to run a single story about him. And so, the goal Malcolm had in collaborating with journalist Alex Haley in the writing of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the original goal he had was to appeal to Elijah Muhammad, to win his good graces back, that Malcolm was under fire by those -- a coterie of lieutenants around Elijah, and he wanted to show the world the emancipatory power of the vision and creed of the Nation of Islam. That was the purpose of writing the book, the original purpose.

Haley had an entirely different agenda. He was a Republican. He despised Malcolm X's black nationalist creed. But he was a journalist, and he understood the power of charisma.

AMY GOODMAN: What about the missing three chapters? We've talked about it on this broadcast before. But talk more about Alex Haley, and talk about the FBI.

MANNING MARABLE: In late 1961, Alex Haley and white journalist Alfred Balk were approached by the Chicago office of the FBI to funnel misinformation that was critical of the Nation of Islam into a magazine article that would be read nationwide. They did so. It was called “The Black Merchants of Hate,” published in the Saturday Evening Post in late February 1962. In effect, Haley played the role of a misinformation agent of the FBI. Ironically, since the article said the Nation of Islam hates white people, they think they're devils, and they don't want anything to do with integration, Elijah Muhammad loved the article. He thought it was great. And so, that helped to create that bridge that led several months later to Malcolm and Haley negotiating an agreement where they would write an autobiography together.

The problem with the autobiography: it's a magnificent work of literature, but it is highly misleading. It's really three books, not one. The bulk of the book, from chapters one to about fourteen, serves the original purposes of Malcolm. It's a book that emphasizes, not unlike Saint Augustine, the early Christian leader who wanted to show the degradations of his own personal life and the emancipatory power of Christ -- this is not unlike what Malcolm was writing, and he was familiar with that text. Malcolm wanted to tell a tale of transformation and hope within the NOI ideology and creed. But after he broke with the Nation of Islam, the second part of the book, the last five chapters, then swings in a very different direction. He wants to tell the story of going to Mecca, of the power of epiphany, and then being liberated from a creed of racism.

But how much is that a spiritual journey and how much of that is political necessity? My analysis of Malcolm in ’64 says that it's really both. Malcolm wants to be directly involved in the leadership of the black freedom struggle, the civil rights movement. He wants to redefine that movement. But to do that, he must be engaged with the actual leadership. He actually goes, when he returns to the US from Saudi Arabia and Ghana, and apologizes to James Farmer, the head of CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality, a man he had bitterly debated, and two other civil rights leaders, because he wants to be involved in that movement. He goes down to Selma, Alabama, in early ’65. He brings Fanny Lou Hamer and representatives of SNCC to the stage at the Audubon in late 1964. So he is actively trying to build a broad-based black united front.

In the missing chapters of the autobiography, he spells out what that front is going to look like.
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline Wise Son

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Re: May 19, 1925
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2007, 03:26:22 am »
That was amazing, and 3 missing chapters? How can the guy who bought them just sit on them like this? Surely they shouldbe available for the public good?

"Children, if you are tired, keep going; if you are hungry, keep going; if you want to taste freedom, keep going."
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Offline zulu801

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Re: May 19, 1925
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2007, 07:41:25 am »
thanks CM for posting this one hell of a link!  to find out that 3 missing chapters are missing from the book I am just as curious to read these missing chapters and wish in the near future it will be available for the world! 


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Re: May 19, 1925
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2007, 02:51:05 pm »

I really appreciate reading Marable about Alex Haley.

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: May 19, 1925
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2007, 08:00:14 pm »
I thought there were several bombshells in the interview, most of which you guys have touched upon.  In no particular order:

The FBI seeks to funnel disinformation on the NOI.  Alex Haley agrees to do the dirty job but Elijah Muhammad likes the resulting article.  Haley ends up doing The Autobiography as a consequence.  Irony anyone?

Dr. Manning says he has seen the three missing chapters of The Autobiography (!).  They were bought by somebody who has them locked up in a safe somewhere. (!!)  (Who is Gregory Reed in Detroit?)

Dr. Manning says he hasn't made up his mind about Louis X (Farrakhan) but he says he'll have more to say in a couple of years when he finishes his biography.

Revisiting all the suspicious circumstances around the assassination.  The claim that of the three men convicted, two of them weren't there.

All that plus clips of Malcom X speaking at various points in his career along with analysis from Dr. Manning.  I thought it was a great interview and I'll be waiting for that biography.
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."