Friday, July 22, 2011

Harlem Book Fair 2011


I’m looking forward to the Harlem Book Fair tomorrow! I know the heat will be there, but will you?
I’m looking forward to a number of presentations, especially the panel on Dr. Manning Marable’s recently released biography, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention.
This afternoon I spoke briefly with Yohuru Williams, (author of Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Black Panthers in New Haven) who is moderating the panel, entitled “Manning Marable’s Malcolm X: Living Black history in the 21st Century."  Among the panelists will be Zaheer Ali, the lead researcher for Dr. Marable’s biography.  
Of course, the most controversial portrayal of Malcolm X to emerge from the biography is the revelation (or speculation depending on your viewpoint) that Malcolm X engaged in homosexual relationships. Yohuru said that he’s been disappointed that reaction to the book potentially means that “an entire life’s work is wiped out” by some who feel betrayed by Dr. Manning. Yohuru said that he’s actually heard people refer to Dr. Manning as a “Judas” and a “traitor.”  That’s a shame when you look at the incredible scholarly contribution Dr. Manning made, he feels.
Yohuru said that he hopes that the audience takes away from the discussion a realization that it doesn’t “tarnish” a person to be a human being; afterall, we are all human. He said that we put so much pressure on others to be what we are not, and he hopes that people can take a person’s imperfections with a degree of strength so that, in Dr. Marable's case for instance, a writer's larger achievements are not diminished or discarded.
There are three other panelists who promise to bring to the discussion both sharp critical analysis and personal reflection on Malcolm X; they are: Herb Boyd (Civil Rights: Yesterday and Today); Peniel Joseph, (Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama), and poet and social activist, Sonia Sanchez.

See you there!

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