Friday, April 01, 2011

In Memoriam - Manning Marable

Manning Marable, African-American Studies Scholar, Has Died at 60

Manning Marable, the author of a long-awaited new biography of Malcolm X to be published Monday and director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University, died Friday at the age of 60, his wife, Leith Mullings, has confirmed.
He had been hospitalized with pneumonia last month, and last summer had a double lung transplant meant to relieve him of sarcoidosis, a lung disease from which he had suffered for a quarter century.
Manning Marable and the efforts of this blog.
See an obituary here.

        Dr. Manning Marable played a significant role in the merger of DSOC and NAM, bringing several NAM strengths into the new organization. The points of unity between NAM and DSOC were carefully drafted to reflect the strengths of each organization.   In the summer of 1983 Manning  organized a conference of Third World Socialists at Fisk University, bringing together a diverse group of  left academics and activists. The list of participants was impressive.
            New Commissions for DSA, a Latino Commission, an African American Commission and an Anti Racism Commission were developed at this conference. These commissions came together in publishing Our Struggle/Nuestra Lucha, the newsletter of these commissions from 1983 until 2004.
            Dr. Marable was both a Vice Chair and a member of the National Executive  Committee ( later the NPC)  where he provided a strong voice for the  work of bringing a significantly multiracial membership to the organization.   In the Vol.1, N.1, of Our Struggle we report that the new NEC Unanimously voted to establish quotas for representatives of each ethnic/cultural group on the NEC an idea that was developed at the Fisk conference.
            One of Manning’s major contributions  within DSA was to develop a new journal, Third World Socialist, a journal for the diverse left movements of the time.  TWS was published  by the National and Racial Minorities Coordinating Committee of DSA, chaired by Manning and supported by Michael Harrington  and Leo Casey and Gerry Hudson (among others) .  The first issue had an  essay by Manning – Run Jesse Run, and the second issue an essay by Manning, The Jackson Campaign ( of 1983-1984) A Critical Assessment.  These essays would later appear in his popular weekly columns in African American newspapers around the nation.  A young scholar Cornel West was at the Fisk meeting and  has an essay in this journal on The Black Church and Socialists Politics. There were two issues of this journal.   For decades Manning wrote columns in the African American press with the by- line Along the Color Line and he spoke at hundreds of college campuses.   He used this popularly written column to promote a democratic socialist perspective.
Dr. Marable was also a major voice in the African American struggle for justice.  Local friends  Faye Kennedy and Carl Pinkston described his role as:

In the 1990,s Manning Marable was one of the five leading African-American activist to host a series of national discussions on organizing a movement of the Black Left. Out of the discussions emerged the National Black Radical Congress (BRC), founded on June 19, 1998.  Manning played a critical role in the formation and implementation of the Black Radical Congress (BRC), providing vision and leadership throughout the process. Manning wrote the draft Freedom Agenda for the Black Radical Congress modeled after the Black Panther Party ten-point platform.
Manning used writings and lectures to address racism, sexism and classism in US; and specific in the Black community.  Manning’s powerful voice was heard clearly in such noted publications and books as: How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America (1983), Black Liberation in Conservative America (1997) and The Great Wells of Democracy (2003), and in a political column, "Along the Color Line," which was syndicated in more than 100 newspapers. In every major Black newspapers, Manning political column “Along the Color Line” serve as a political beacon during the 80’s and 90’s. Manning life long scholarship and activism challenged the Left to address anti-racism work. Most importantly, Manning challenge the Black community to understand the roles of class and sexism; and how its impact communities. Lastly, Manning stood on the side of the Black working class. 

To read some of the essays, see- Race, Reform and Rebellion; The Second Reconstruction and Beyond in Black America, 1945-2006.   First published in 1984.  Third Edition, 2007.
And, Black American Politics: From the Washington Marches to Jesse Jackson,  (1985)
And, Historical Studies in Race, Class Consciousness and Revolution.  (1981)
Joe, in his tribute, mentions one of the major works, How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America.  1983.

More recently, he edited. Let Nobody Turn Us Around; Voices of Resistance, Reform and Renewal.  2000.
Manning co-authored a chapter on race in the first edition of my work,
Choosing Democracy: a practical guide to multicultural education. (1994)

Manning was the co-author of a chapter in the first edition  in my book, Choosing Democracy, a practical guide to multicultural education.
Duane Campbell

1 comment:

Tom Shelley said...

Manning Marable was one of the major influences on me as I developed my understanding of socialism. I can't say I read all his books, but I read three of them and a lengthy pamphlet. I think I started at the University of Colorado at Boulder months or at most a year after he stopped teaching there, which was a bummer.

The books I read by him were: Race, Reform and Rebellion (1991); Black Leadership (1998); one more, published sometime in the early 1990s?? I can't remember the name.

At one point, I had a sort of stupid idea, of putting together a collection of political essays, and wrote to Dr. Marable asking him to contribute. Unsurprisingly, he declined (I didn't have any kind of reputation or a B.A., I just came out of nowhere) but he read one of the essays I had sent him and wrote me back saying he liked it. (it was very cool of him to write me back)

Anyway, politically he had a major affect on me.

Tom Shelley