MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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All these new details raise questions about how Malcolm X is viewed and how his life will be taught in the classroom. I put some of those questions to Melissa Harris-Perry. She's an associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University.
MELISSA HARRIS: And that it is that perception of Malcolm as an enemy that Manning Marable ends up reading as at the core of the assassination a few years later.
NORRIS: But Marable says that much of that narrative was fictive. Will this book change the view of that seminal work and how it is used and taught in American classrooms?
HARRIS: I think far too many of us, and I'll make myself as a teacher culpable in this, have taught the autobiography of Malcolm X as though it were sort of a historic document in and of itself, as though it were truth with a capital T. You know, that changes, I think, how we understand the man who was Malcolm X.
NORRIS: There is much in this book about the assassination of Malcolm X, the lead-up to the killing, the investigation that followed. In the reading of that section, it seemed almost like Manning Marable was issuing a call to action. In reading this, did you think that he was trying to encourage people to re- examine the case, the questions about who exactly were the triggermen, the questions about what did the FBI or the police department do or what didn't they do in trying to prevent the assassination or to investigate it?
HARRIS: It was clearly Manning's next life and political and intellectual mission to bring this case to some kind of resolution, and I suspect that his now widow, who was very much his life partner intellectually and academically and personally, will likely take up this work.
NORRIS: Melissa Harris-Perry, good to talk to you. Thank you very much.
HARRIS: Thanks for having me.
NORRIS: Melissa Harris-Perry is an associate professor of politics and African- American studies at Princeton University.
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