There is no doubting the bullet holes that the shoot-out left around the stage of the Audubon Ballroom, north of Harlem, or the shocking assassination of Malcolm X there on February 21, 1965.
But the exact circumstances of the civil rights leader’s death remain the subject of controversy, 46 years on.
In a new book, the life’s work of one of New York’s foremost African-American scholars, it is claimed that one of Malcolm X’s killers remains alive, unpunished and free.
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, by Professor Manning Marable, aims to paint the definitive portrait of what happened that day and re-examine the life story of one of the icons of black America.
As well as naming his killer, Marable reveals Malcolm X as a bisexual who had an affair with a white businessman and exaggerated his early life of crime.
There were none of the interviews with major newspapers that Marable had lined up in advance of yesterday’s publication. An illness that he had fought for 24 years, which had confined him to breathing with an oxygen tank, claimed his life last Sunday.
Marable, 60, crafted his 592-page opus from interviews with Malcolm X’s inner circle and by using CIA records, State Department papers and 6000 pages of FBI files collected through Freedom of Information requests.