Thursday, April 7, 2011

Manning Marable:
Consummate Black Scholar-Activist
The Color of Law
By David A. Love, JD Executive Editor

I first met Manning Marable 12 years ago this month. At the time I was a news producer for Democracy Now! in New York, and was covering a conference Dr. Marable held at Columbia University on racial bias in the criminal justice system. The conference covered issues of great interest to me, including police brutality, the role of race in criminal sentencing, felon disenfranchisement and the death penalty.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Dr. Marable, and what struck me more than anything else was his affability. He was accessible and approachable, a characteristic you don’t always find in academic folks. Some scholars and their scholarship are distant, hidden, and unable to maintain their relevance in the everyday world. Manning Marable did not have that problem. His scholarship was about the world, our world. He cared about the black experience, about injustice and class inequality, about Malcolm X. Dr. Marable was the consummate scholar activist. His work centered on the people’s struggles. No movement can advance without its teachers, those who educate the masses on the lessons of history - should the masses choose to learn what these learned minds have to share.
America has lost a great man in Manning Marable, as have Black America and the progressive community as a whole. But moreover, the Black Commentator editorial board has lost a dear family member. He is the second scholar-activist luminary to leave our pages in a matter of months, as Dr. Ronald Walters passed in September 2010. It was a unique honor to have such a brilliant mind as a part of the BC extended family, a critical thinker who had one eye on the past and the other on social change for today and tomorrow.
And just as Malcolm died days before the release of his autobiography, so too did Manning die only days before the release of what may very well be his magnum opus, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. I cannot wait to dig into this book, as I’m sure he set the record straight, with his last gift to those whose lives were influenced by Brother Minister. But certainly, the body of work that Manning Marable leaves us - even as the man has left us physically - is a spirit which will endure and sustain us for generations to come.

Click here to send a message of condolence to the Marable family. Executive Editor, David A. Love, JD is a journalist and human rights advocate based in Philadelphia, is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. and a contributor to The Huffington Post, the Grio, The Progressive Media Project, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, In These Times and Philadelphia Independent Media Center. He also blogs, NewsOne, Daily Kos, and Open Salon. Click here to contact Mr. Love.