Dr. Manning Marable, 60, a history and political science professor at Columbia University, died on Friday (April 1). His life as a scholar is beset by the tragic irony that his long-awaited biography, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, is scheduled to be published on Monday (April 4) by Viking Press. It is Dr. Marable’s lifelong work and, perhaps, his magnum opus.

Frederick C. Harris, the Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University, was attending a conference in Chicago when he was reached for comment: “Manning had been working on the biography for two decades. He was a giant in the field of black studies and can never be replaced. Few have successfully fused their scholarship and their activism so successfully. He will be missed.”

Dr. Manning Marable was born in 1950 in Dayton, Ohio. He was an iconoclastic scholar in the field of African-American Studies. Dr. Marable’s  Marxist ideological bent, coupled with his social activism, made him an endearing figure, particularly among radical left wing activists and scholars. “He was an outstanding scholar of the black radical tradition,” said Barbara Foley, an English professor at Rutgers University—Newark.

Dr. Marable’s trademark afro, styled like Frederick Douglass, gave him a striking and unforgettable public persona.

Gerald Horne, a history professor at the University of Houston, reflected on what he characterized as Dr. Marable’s eternal legacy. “Manning was a towering intellectual and he had this ability to popularize socialist ideals and a transformational agenda,” Professor Horne said.

Barbara Ransby, a professor of African-American Studies and history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, elaborated on Dr. Marable’s  importance as a scholar: “Manning Marable was a colleague and friend for over 25 years. His unflinching and pioneering scholarship, progressive politics, and generous spirit have inspired a generation of activists and scholars of the Black experience and many others.”

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