On April 20, 2011 we interviewed Ilyasah Shabazz, a daughter of late black nationalist leader Malcolm X, about a controversial new biography about her father. The book, "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention," contends that as a young man, Malcolm Little (his birth name), had a homosexual encounter with an older white man. The biography also reexamines the circumstances of Malcolm X's assassination, suggesting that the New York police department declined to act on information it had obtained that might have thwarted the plot.
In our interview with Ms. Shabazz, she said she believed that one of Mr. Marable's lead researchers on the book, Zaheer Ali, hadn't known that these claims about her father would make publication.
It should be noted that Mr. Ali was a guest on our program on April 6. (Mr. Marable had died just days before the book was published in early April.) Mr. Ali wrote the following response to Ms. Shabazz's remarks:
As one of the lead researchers on the Malcolm X Project, I often discussed and debated various aspects of Malcolm X's history with Dr. Manning Marable, unaware if and how those discussions would eventually play out in his book. So for me, reading "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention," was my first opportunity to see how Dr. Marable was able to synthesize the many sources and voices he researched, and discussions and debates he had while completing the biography. It is my belief that he would want those discussions and debates to continue, as we continue to grapple with the life and legacy of Malcolm X.
Also, listener perspectives on our interview with Ms. Shabazz can be heard in the April 22 edition of the program's weekly BackTalk feature.