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A "lifelong Marxist" and known associate of African-American radicals such as

Angela Y. Davis and Amiri Baraka, Marable makes "no pretense to academic or

scholarly inquiry" in his position at Columbia University.



Books by Manning Marable

 Black Liberation in Conservative America  / Living Black History  / How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America

Race, Reform, and Rebellion  /  W.E.B. Du Bois: Black Radical Democrat  /  Race, Reform, and Rebellion

The Great Wells of Democracy  /  Afro-Cuban Voices: On Race and Identity in Contemporary Cuba

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"The Most Dangerous Black Professor in America"

Along the Color Line February 2006

By Manning Marable

Back in 1919, in the chaotic aftermath of World War I and the Russian Revolution, President Woodrow Wilson's administration sought to suppress radical and progressive intellectuals here at home. Government agents harassed W.E.B. Du Bois and the NAACP's journal, The Crisis. Copies of African-American socialist A. Philip Randolph's militant journal, The Messenger, were seized and destroyed. When President Wilson was given a copy of The Messenger, he declared that Randolph must surely be "the most dangerous Negro in America."

Randolph later went on to found the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1925, the first successful African-American labor union. In the 1930's. Randolph conceived of the National Negro Congress, a black united front that challenged the racism of Jim Crow segregation and the inadequate programs of the Roosevelt administration in dealing with black unemployment. In 1941 Randolph pressured Roosevelt with the call for a "Negro March on Washington, D.C.," resulting in the desegregation of defense industry jobs generated by federal contracts. Randolph was indeed "dangerous" to the enemies of black freedom.

Randolph immediately came to mind when I learned recently that I was listed among "The 101 Most Dangerous Professors" in America's colleges and universities. The indicted of these 101 "academic subversives" appears in a new book by right wing gadfly David Horowitz. Horowitz crashed the headlines several years ago when he circulated the provocative advertisement denouncing black American reparations for slavery and Jim Crow segregation as "racist." His latest political maneuver is the demand for an "Academic Bill of Rights," calling for state legislatures to restrict academic freedom on campuses.

The political sins of Manning Marable, according to Horowitz, are monumental. A "lifelong Marxist" and known associate of African-American radicals such as Angela Y. Davis and Amiri Baraka, Marable makes "no pretense to academic or scholarly inquiry" in his position at Columbia University. "Professor Marable advocates black 'resistance' as the only antidote to the 'inherent racism' of American society." To the charge of calling for black empowerment and full socioeconomic justice and political equality, I must plead guilty.

Horowitz's book is especially troubled by two specific projects that I have initiated: the "Africana Criminal Justice Project," and my biographical research on Malcolm X. For Horowitz and his research assistants, the funding my criminal justice studies have received from "George Soros's Open Society Institute" was politically motivated, "no doubt because it fits Soros's agenda of unseating Republicans" by restoring voting rights to former prisoners, who are disproportionately black, brown and poor. Nowhere in my own writing can one find the claim that I "[maintain] that the American criminal justice system is irredeemably racist," or that the "enemies" of my research on Malcolm X are "the white middle class, which he also believes to be the source of the inequities of American society that inflames his radical passions." Yet Horowitz doesn't mind twisting the facts to promote his bizarre interpretation of America's unequal racial realities.

"The 101 Most Dangerous Professors" reads like a "Who's Who" of America's most prominent public intellectuals and university scholars. Columbia University led the nation, with nine "most dangerous" scholars among its faculty, including internationally-known intellectuals like Eric Foner, Victor Navasky, Todd Gitlin, Lisa Anderson and Hamid Dabashi. Other African-American intellectuals stigmatized as "most dangerous" include bell hooks, Michael Eric Dyson, Maulana Karenga, Kathleen Cleaver and legendary legal theorist Derrick Bell. Several of the "dangerous" intellectuals are editorial board members of a journal I edit at Columbia, Souls – Foner, Dyson, Cleaver and Brooklyn College Professor Priya Parmar. Clearly for Horowitz this is additional proof that subversives are building incendiary networks for academic mayhem.

Horowitz's objective is to discredit, isolate and stigmatize prominent scholars of the left by eliminating them from universities entirely. His bogus "Academic Bill of Rights" promotes the same goal by mobilizing conservative Republicans in state legislatures to impose ideological strait jackets on faculty appointments and tenure decisions. To accomplish this, he deliberately twists and distorts the published writings and lectures of progressive intellectuals, taking phrases out of context or even inventing quotations, to mobilize political conservatives.

Only days before the "101 most dangerous" controversy erupted, however, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, headed by conservative Republican Ambassador John Bolton, requested me to speak and serve as moderator of a prestigious panel on the theme, "The U.S. Civil Rights Struggle: Its Global Implications," which was held on February 24, 2006. The panel's featured presenter was Miss Johnnie Carr, a confidant of both Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a former leader of the Montgomery Improvement Association in Alabama. My politics are clearly at odds with Ambassador Bolton's, yet our U.S. Mission at the U.N.'s invitation to me requested that I be provided with "the opportunity to address the international community on the importance of equal rights, not just in the United States, but globally." Is Bolton wrong, or is Horowitz simply wrongheaded?

Critically-engaged scholarship for the oppressed must both inform and transform people's lives. Documenting and preserving the histories of black Americans frightens reactionaries like Horowitz. Efforts to link social science research for reforming our destructive criminal justice policies, and restoring voting rights to the black, brown and poor disfranchised, causes equal consternation. In the tradition of Randolph, I make no apologies.

Source: Manning Marable.Net

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Dr. Manning Marable is Professor of History and Political Science, and the Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University in New York. Along the Color Line is distributed free of charge to over 350 publications throughout the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Marable's column is also available on the Internet at

posted 19 March 2006

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Dr. Manning Marable
(May 13, 1950 - April 1, 2011)
Scholar, Activist, Mentor

By Russell Rickford

Prof. Manning Marable, an ebullient teacher and institution-builder who embodied the reciprocal possibilities of scholarship-activism, and a Du Boisian intellectual who sought in the black past lessons for the radical transformation of American democracy, died on April 1, 2011 at the age of  60.

Dr. Marable was a prolific scholar whose labor in the arenas of history, political science and social criticism inspired popular and academic audiences. He was a “race man” in the best sense of the tradition—“our grand radical democratic intellectual,” in the words of philosopher Cornel West. His wellspring of love for black folk nourished a passion for democracy and a vision of Africana studies as a crusade for the material and spiritual liberation of all oppressed people. Marable’s deep knowledge of the African Diaspora made him a force in the field of black history; his courage and progressive politics made him a treasure for “the grassroots.”

For Dr. Marable, “living black history” was more pilgrimage than principle. His journey began on May 13, 1950 in Dayton, Ohio. Born to James and June Morehead Marable, schoolteachers who enforced a regimen of U.S. and world history books, the young bibliophile soon discovered the gift of historical imagination. Acutely conscious of race matters, he was further politicized by the April 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

He was among the first mourners to arrive at the Atlanta church that hosted King’s funeral. (He covered the event for Dayton’s black newspaper.) A high school senior at the time, he perched on the steps of Ebenezer Baptist in the predawn shadows to await the masses.

A precocious student, he completed his bachelor’s in 1971 at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana (while leading the black student union) and went on to earn his master’s (1972) and Ph.D. (1976) in history at, respectively, University of Wisconsin, Madison and University of Maryland, College Park. Between the mid-1970s and early 1990s, Dr. Marable served on the faculty of Tuskegee Institute, University of San Francisco, Cornell University, Fisk University, Colgate University, Purdue University, Ohio State University, and University of Colorado, Boulder.

As a scholar who traversed the disciplines of history, political science and sociology, Dr. Marable grounded his work in the black American experience while exploring the larger African Diaspora, traveling to Kenya, Tanzania, Cuba, South Africa and Brazil. He developed political and academic contacts throughout the black world, seeing the remaking of racialized societies as the primary task of the engaged intellectual. Armed with the theories of Du Bois, C. L. R. James and Antonio Gramsci, he mastered political economy, emphasizing material solutions to social inequality and exposing the interlocking shackles of race and class.

During the first half of his career, Dr. Marable headed the Race Relations Institute at Fisk, the Africana and Latin American Studies Program at Colgate, and the Department of Black Studies at Ohio State. However, it was his directorship of Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies, which he founded in 1993, that marked his most significant personal and political transitions.

Facing the sudden acceleration of sarcoidosis, an illness he had battled for years, and increasingly devoted to the socially redemptive power of political ideas, he crafted the Institute in the image of Du Bois’s Atlanta University project. Under Dr. Marable’s stewardship, the Institute married scholarship and social transformation, launching initiatives to bolster the case for African-American reparations, fight the specter of racialized mass imprisonment, and reclaim the radical vectors of Malcolm X’s legacy. Meanwhile, Dr. Marable cultivated two generations of scholars, activists and students, discovering in each individual a unique genius for advancing the cause he lovingly described: empowering the black masses to reclaim their agency and “return to their own history.”

Dr. Marable wrote prodigiously. The legal pads he dispatched in longhand became the masonry of a scholarly edifice that included more than 30 books and edited volumes, as well as hundreds of articles in academic and popular journals. From the Grassroots, Blackwater, How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America, Race, Reform and Rebellion, Beyond Black and White, Let Nobody Turn Us Around  (with Leith Mullings), The Great Wells of Democracy, Living Black History, and now, Malcolm X, anchor the shelves of countless students and circulate endlessly in prison yards, their covers curled and shabby, their wisdom pristine. Committed to class-conscious analysis rendered in straightforward prose, Dr. Marable also  produced and distributed free of charge, a public affairs column—“From the Grassroots” (later “Along the Color Line”)—that for three decades reached a vast readership through the black press, reinvigorating Du Bois’s legacy of political commentary and agitation.

Much of Dr. Marable’s energy was spent building—and not merely interpreting—the movement for racial justice. As he observed, “It is only when we stand against the current, confronting the powerful forces of prejudice and inequality, that the tools of scholarship become meaningful.” Some of his most rewarding experiences came through his involvement with the Institute of the Black World in the 1970s (an association that enabled him to chauffeur—and thus interrogate and debate—the great Pan Africanist historian Walter Rodney). He participated in the National Black Political Assembly, the National Black Independent Political Party and the Democratic Socialists of America in the 1980s and the Committees of Correspondence in the 1990s. His long record of leadership on the left included his role as co-founder of the Black Radical Congress in 1998 and his participation in the 2001 United Nations World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa.

From Jamaica to Cuba to Sing Sing Prison, Dr. Marable lectured. He made frequent media appearances on programs like Democracy Now! He served as founding editor of Souls, a journal of black history, politics and culture. He established Columbia’s Center for Contemporary Black History. He created archives and digital resources for teachers and researchers. He served on the board of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History. He received many commendations, including the 2005 National Council for Black Studies Ida B. Wells—Cheikh Anta Diop Award for Outstanding Scholarship and Leadership in African-American Studies, as well as two honorary degrees: John Jay College of the City University of New York (2006); and State University of New York, New Paltz (2000).

Dr. Marable was a generous mentor. A Marxist feminist who was also a “Malcolmite”; a black history savant with pop culture tastes (“You can’t handle the truth!” was one of his stock phrases); a dissident social scientist who remained faithful to the political promise of the hip-hop generation, he brandished these identities with passion and grace, convincing his pupils that they, too, could achieve a more perfect whole. Ultimately, that eclecticism reinforced his vision of what social history and critical theory might accomplish: the construction of a liberation movement that shatters social barriers based on color, class and gender.

Dr. Marable is survived by his wife, the anthropologist Leith Mullings; his three children, Malaika Marable Serrano, Sojourner Marable Grimmett, and Joshua Manning Marable; two stepchildren, Alia Tyner and Michael Tyner; a sister, Madonna Marable; his mother, June Morehead Marable; three grandchildren and an extended family in New York, Ohio and Tuskegee.

Donations can be made to The Manning Marable Memorial Social Justice Fund which will provide grants and awards to organizations and individuals that reflect an honor Dr. Marable’s commitment to the struggle for justice. Checks can be made out to The Manning Marable Social Justice Fund and sent to:

The Manning Marable Memorial Social Justice Fund
c/o The Adco Foundation
328 8th Avenue
Suite 404 
New York, NY 10001
Attention: Dana Ain Davis 

Source: IRAS

posted 22 July 2008

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

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#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

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Malcolm X

A Life of Reinvention

By Manning Marable

Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist.

Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable's new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties.

Reaching into Malcolm's troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents' activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

Pulitzer Prize for History 2012 Winner—For a distinguished and appropriately documented book on the history of the United States, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000). Awarded to Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, by the late Manning Marable (Viking), an exploration of the legendary life and provocative views of one of the most significant African-Americans in U.S. history, a work that separates fact from fiction and blends the heroic and tragic. (Moved by the Board from the Biography category.)—Pulitzer

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Say it Loud: Poems about James Brown

Edited by Michael Oatman and Mary Weems

Preface by Lamont B. Steptoe

This anthology is a tribute in poems to James Brown and includes work by over 30 poets including Amiri Baraka, Emotion Brown, Katie Daley, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Kelly A. Harris, Tony Medina, Ayodele Nzinga, Michael Oatman, Michelle Rankins, Patricia Smith, Lamont B. Steptoe, George Wallace and Mary Weems.

"On May  3, 1933, James Joseph Brown was born in Barnwell, South Carolina in the heart of Jim Crow America. On December 25, 2006, JB, the hardest working man in show business passed on. These poems celebrate, memorialize and speak to the legacy of the Godfather of Soul. They share their memories from childhood to adulthood of the man who was influenced by such musical giants as Little Richard, but who laid the physical and musical steps for artists such as Michael Jackson and many current Rap and Hip Hop musicians today."Adah Ward-Randolph

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake.   . . . —WashingtonPost

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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