Manning Marable’s Book on Malcolm Awarded Pulitzer

The book that prompted much discussion over the legacy of Malcolm X last year is now a pulitzer prize winner. Manning Marable’s 600 page opus Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention is now recognized as a work worthy of praise.

As some of you who read this blog remember, this book touched off a great deal of controversy over the airing of Malcolm’s personal issues. This will not go over so well in circles that were highly critical of the scholarship of Marable’s last work. Reactions have yet to come to the fore, but there are certain to be visceral responses.

Which begs the question: What does this Pulitzer symbolize?
Does this recognition mean validation of some of the more questionable things raised about Malcolm X by Marable in his book? Or is it just a posthumous recognition of Marable for what many see as one of his best works?

I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

Marc W. Polite

4.17.12 Update: Read the guest post from Prof. Karen Johnson on the Marable Pulitzer titled Why Dr. Manning Marable’s Pulitzer Is Well Deserved


  1. I’m not interested in debating the whether Manning’s efforts are worthy of the prize–there’s little we can do about that, but something can be said about Dr. Johnson’s response. First of all, the prize was not given in the biography category but history, a switch that to my knowledge is unpredecented. Three years ago, Dr. Annette Gordon-Reed won the first African American pulitzer for history; all the others cited by Dr. Johnson, including the Duke, Monk, et al were in the Special Citation category. And it should be noted that the prize is administered by Columbia University where Manning was employed for many years. Moreover, Dr. Johnson needs to proofread her entry for grammatical errors; it seriously detracts from her presentation. Let’s leave it at that for the moment. Best, Hb

  2. Good morning Mr. Boyd. If you would like an opportunity to give your thoughts on the book at length, you are welcome to do so in a guest post.

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