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NABJ Celebrates the Life of Dr. Manning Marable
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Washington, D.C. (April 5, 2011) - The National Association of Black Journalists today celebrates the life of Dr. Manning Marable, an advisor to several past NABJ leaders whose book, "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” is being released today.

Marable, 60, a noted Columbia University scholar of African American history, died Friday, April 1, just days before the release of his biography on the slain human rights leader.

"The death of Professor Manning Marable is a shocking loss for scholarship on the black condition in America, most especially on the eve of the publication of his life’s work – a biography of Malcolm X,” NABJ Founder Les Payne said from New York.

In addition to his sharp scholarship, which included some 200 articles in professional journals, in 1976, Marable started writing a newspaper column in the Black Press, "Along the Color Line.” 

"I grew up reading Dr. Marable’s columns long before I thought about becoming a journalist,” said NABJ President Kathy Y. Times. "I was young, but I understood the power and passion in his prose. I hope that young people will have an appreciation for the works of writers such as Dr. Marable before they’re gone.”

Payne also is working on a book about Malcolm X’s life.

"Dr. Marable spent his last fruitful years examining the complex life of this towering 20th-Century figure who challenged the false notion of white superiority and struck a death blow against the resulting sense of conditioned black inferiority,” Payne said. "It is an added tragedy that the author did not live to expand on the nuances of his research and analysis that will generate new insight, questions, and further examination of the life and death of Malcolm X.”  

Manning perused FBI files and records from the CIA and State Department, and he conducted interviews with the slain leader’s confidants and security team, as well as witnesses to the assassination, according to published reports.

NABJ Founder Claude Lewis recalled a White House meeting during President Jimmy Carter’s administration that he attended with Marable and two other NABJ founders, Reggie Bryant and Vernon Jarrett, both now deceased.

"We talked about the future and the future of black America,” Lewis recalled in an interview from his home in southern New Jersey. "Manning was very assertive and aggressive and verbal in the meeting. It was in a way that was unusual, because usually you let the president lead the discussion.

"He told Carter what was failing at the time in black America and that a lot more work had to be done in the area of housing and general education. He mentioned, in particular, the Hispanic community needing support. Jimmy Carter was full of smiles that day, and I think he was surprised how assertive his guests were that day. It turned out to be a very formidable meeting with Reggie Bryant and Vernon Jarrett.”

Born May 13, 1950, in Dayton, Ohio, Marable authored almost 20 books, including "Speaking Truth to Power” and books on Medgar Evers and W.E.B. Du Bois. His wife, Leith Mullings, told a reporter that Dr. 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.

"The totality of Marable’s work has influenced students, readers and other scholars; and it will continue to help change America for the better,” Payne said.

 

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