Cops 'Stood Back' After Threats to Malcolm X: Book

Columbia's Manning Marable dies just before release of major biography
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2011 8:14 AM CDT

(Newser) – Columbia professor Manning Marable spent 20 years working on a groundbreaking biography of Malcolm X but died yesterday, just three days before its release. Scholars who have read Marable's Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention say it presents the most definitive look yet at the black nationalist leader's legacy, reports the New York Times. The most controversial part says law-enforcement authorities "stood back" rather than investigate death threats because they viewed Malcolm X as a dangerous extremist; the book also says two men were wrongly convicted of his killing, while four others involved went free.

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Marable obtained thousands of pages of FBI and CIA files while researching his magnum opus. Among other things, he argues that Malcolm X exaggerated his criminal career in an attempt to show that the Nation of Islam could redeem even the worst criminals. He also says Malcolm X had far more doubts about religion and politics than was portrayed in the popular autobiography written with Alex Haley. Says Marable's editor: "His every fiber was devoted to the completion of this book. It’s heartbreaking he won’t be here on publication day with us.” The 60-year-old died of long-standing medical problems. (Read more civil rights stories.)

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