Dr. Manning Marable, who died shortly before his biography “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention” (Viking) was released last April, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in History on Monday.
The book, which has been the source of much controversy, was moved from the biography category by the Pulitzer board.
“For a distinguished and appropriately documented book on the history of the United States,” was the announcement made by the board, and it comes with a $10,000 award.
Other finalists in the category were Anne Hyde’s “Empires, Nations & Families: A History of North American West” (University of Nebraska Press); “The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden” (Ballantine Books) by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan; and Richard White’s “Railroaded: the Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America” (W.W. Norton & Company).
For several years Marable, 60, was afflicted with sarcoidosis, a lung disease that may have been related to the double lung transplant and subsequent pneumonia at the end of his phenomenally productive literary and academic life.
His biography on Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz), though widely praised in the mainstream press, was met with a barrage of criticism from Black Nationalists, many of whom took exception to his discussion about his subject’s alleged homosexuality and philandering.
Even so, it was roundly applauded for reigniting a well-needed discussion about Malcolm’s turbulent odyssey and his impact on national and international culture and politics.
The book was also a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer is sure to intensify what has been a lively discussion about Marable’s analysis and conclusions.
Marable spent a considerable number of years compiling the lengthy biography, most notably during his tenure at Columbia University where he was the founding director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies and the Center for the Study of Contemporary Black History.