Family of Malcolm X Sues to Prevent Publication of Diary

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  • The family of Malcolm X has launched a lawsuit to stop the publication of a diary of the late civil-rights leader’s last year, reports The Guardian.

    “The Diary of Malcolm X,” a reproduction of a private diary kept as he travelled to the Middle East and Africa immediately before his assassination, is due to be published this week, according to Third World Press, a Chicago-based company. The publisher lists one of the leader’s six daughters, Ilyasah Shabazz, as a co-editor.

    But in papers filed to Manhattan federal court, according to the Associated Press, heirs to Malcolm X say Third World Press does not have the right to publish it.

    Bennett Johnson, the vice-president of Third World Press, said it had a signed contract with one of Malcolm X’s daughters. A video on the website of Third World Press shows Shabazz speaking about the book, alongside journalist Herb Boyd, who is also listed as co-editor. [Watch the video below.]

    “It’s really beautiful that we get to see Malcolm in his own voice – without scholars, historians or observers saying what he was thinking or what he was doing or what he meant” Shabazz says.

    The book is due to be published on Nov. 14, the film notes.

    Boyd said the diary took in the activist’s trips to the Middle East and Africa. According to the company’s website, the diary “described the deep emotional connections [Malcolm X] developed during a period that was constantly colored by his prophetic sense of impending tragedy”. Text on the website also says that the writings, which set out a “unique action plan for African Americans”, were recently recovered from the memorabilia maintained by the family.

    The journals are part of a trove of papers that were loaned to the New York Public Library by Malcolm X’s daughters in 2003.

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