Manning Marable

Manning Marable (Photo courtesy of By David Shankbone - David Shankbone, CC BY-SA 3.0,

William Manning Marable

(May 13, 1950 – April 1, 2011)

Born William Manning Marable, he was raised in Dayton, Ohio by parents who were both graduates of Central State, the historically black university in Wilberforce. When he was 17 years old, he attended the funeral of Martin Luther King. Jr. His mother, a PhD. graduate and ordained minister, used her influence to get him inside the funeral. He reported his experiences at the funeral for Dayton’s black newspapers. He graduated from Jefferson Township High School in 1968.

Marable earned a B.A. from Earlham College (1971), a M.A. in history from University of Wisconsin (1972) and his PhD. in history from University of Maryland (1976).  Marable taught at many prestigious universities and colleges – Tuskegee Institute, University of San Francisco, Smith College, Fisk University, Cornell University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, and University of Colorado at Boulder. He was the first director of the Africana and Hispanic Studies Program at Colgate University. In 1993, Columbia University asked him to the founding director of Columbia’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies; he was also appointed to be the M. Moran Weston and Black Alumni Council Professor of African-American Studies.  

Marable was active in the New American Movement and the Democratic Socialists of America through 1985. He served as Chair of Movement for a Democratic Society and served on the Board of Directors for the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. He was also a member of the New York Legislature’s Amistad Commission, which looked at the state’s role in the slave trade. He was opposed to Afrocentrism.

Marable wrote a number of non-fiction books, including his biography of Malcom X, which was published prior to his death in 2011. The book was welcomed with mixed reviews. Marable upset many readers with his portrayal of Malcom X’s homosexual relationship with a white man. He wrote that some of Malcom X’s killers were still alive (as of 2011) and were never brought to justice. Malcom X: A Life of Reinvention was ranked on New York Time’s 10 Best Books of 2011. It was nominated for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, and a National Book Award. The book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History in 2012. The award was accepted posthumously.

Marable was diagnosed with sarcoidosis and received a double lung transplant in 2010. He passed away from complications with pneumonia on April 1, 2011 in New York City. He was 60 years old. He is buried in Manhattan, New York.  Manning Marable


  • How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America (1983)
  • African and Caribbean Politics: From Kwame Nkrumah to Maurice Bishop (1987)
  • Race, Reform and Rebellion (1991)
  • Beyond Black and White: Transforming African American Politics (1995)
  • Speaking Truth to Power: Essays on Race, Resistance, and Radicalism (1996)
  • Black Liberation in Conservative America (1997)
  • Black Leadership (1998)
  • Let Nobody Turn Us Around (2000)
  • Freedom: A Photographic History of the African American Struggle (with Leith Mullings and Sophie Spencer-Wood) (2002)
  • The Great Wells of Democracy: The Meaning of Race in American Life (2003)
  • W. E. B. DuBois: Black Radical Democrat (2005)
  • The Autobiography of Medgar Evers (with Myrlie Evers-Williams) (2005)
  • Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (2011)
  • Living Black History: How Reimagining the African-American Past Can Remake America's Racial Future (2011)
  • The Portable Malcolm X Reader (with Garrett Felber) (2013)

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