My vision of a socially just society is one that is deeply democratic, that allows people’s voices to be heard, where people actually govern…There should be no hierarchies of power between those who lead and their constituencies. Everyone has the capacity, has the ability to articulate a vision of reality and to fight for the realization of their values and goals in society. This is deeply democratic, one where we don’t have elitist notions of what society should look like, but have humility and the patience to listen to and learn from working class and poor people, who really are at the center of what any society is.
—Dr Manning Marable
One of America’s most influential and widely read scholars, Dr. Manning Marable, passed away this past weekend at the age of 60. I am sure many essays will be written about this towering intellect in the days & weeks to come as his influence is inestimable. His influence on me was quite dramatic. As a young college student in search of meaning, I remember studying his classic, “How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America“, in a Political Science course taught by another influential intellect, the late great Dr Ron Walters. The title itself was shocking to me & as I read through the book, the initial shock turned into a righteous rage. His deeply penetrating analysis of race & class in the U.S wiped out a number of illusions I held at that time. My vision of the world changed & I endeavored from that moment to stay attuned to the plight of the poor, reviled & isolated. Staying informed & helping to persuade others to examine their own illusions became my raison d’être & I owe this spark to Dr Manning Marable. Other people fed this fire, but Dr Marable was the one who threw the molotov through my shaded window.
It’s doubly sad that Dr Marable will not be able to see the fruits of his recent biographic masterpiece, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention” which is due to be published today This promises to be a terrific read as he dispels many myths about Malcolm X & reveals a number of bombshells as well (like how Malcolm X had far more doubts about religion and politics than was portrayed in the autobiography written with Alex Haley). What a tremendous loss, but we are the richer for his invaluable contributions & courageous truth-telling.
Rest in peace, brother.