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A Lie of Reinvention
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A Lie of Reinvention is a response to Manning Marable s biography of Malcolm X, A Life of Reinvention. Marable s book was controversially acclaimed by some as his magna opus. At the same time, it was denounced and debated by others as a worthless read full of conjecture, errors, and without any new factual content. In this collection of critical essays, editors Jared Ball and Todd Steven Burroughs lead a group of established and emerging Black scholars and activists who take a clear stance in this controversy: Marable s biography is at best flawed and at worst a major setback in American history, African American studies, and scholarship on the life of Malcolm X. In the tradition of John Henrik Clarke s classic anthology William Styron s Nat Turner: Ten Black Writers Respond, this volume provides a striking critique of Marable s text. In 1968, Clarke and his assembled writers felt it essential to respond to Styron s fictionalized and ahistorical Nat Turner, the heroic leader of one of America s most famous revolts against enslavement. In A Lie of Reinvention, the editors sense a different threat to an African American icon, Malcolm X. This time, the threat is presented as an authoritative biography. To counter the threat, Ball and Burroughs respond with a barbed collection of commentaries of Marable s text. The essays come from all quarters of the Black community. From behind prison walls, Mumia Abu-Jamal revises his prior public praise of Marable s book with an essay written specifically for this volume. A. Peter Bailey, a veteran journalist who worked with Malcolm X s Organization for Afro-American Unity, disputes how he is characterized in Marable s book. Bill Strickland, who also knew Malcolm X, provides what he calls a personal critique of the biography. Younger scholars such as Kali Akuno, Kamau Franklin, Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua, Christopher M. Tinson, Eugene Puryear and Greg Thomas join veterans Rosmari Mealy, Raymond Winbush, Amiri Baraka and Karl Evanzz in pointing out historical problems and ideological misinterpretations in Marable s work."
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