Author’s son seeks Malcolm X letter at Syracuse
The son of Malcolm X's biographer is asking Syracuse University to hand over a letter in which the slain activist writes about his shifting views on race relations, claiming his family is the rightful owner.
Malcolm X wrote to Alex Haley, his collaborator for "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," from Saudi Arabia in April 1964, about 10 months before he was gunned down at a New York City hotel ballroom. The publisher of the autobiography later gave the letter to Syracuse University as part of a larger cache of papers to be used by researchers.
But Haley's son, William Haley, said the publisher never had legal title to the letter and could not give it away. His lawyer said Tuesday he plans to make a legal demand this week for the letter, which he believes is worth at least $650,000.
"The history is important for us as a family, the legacy," William Haley said. Haley said he was acting on behalf of himself and his two sisters. Haley said it's possible the family would decide to sell the letter, but that would be a group decision.
Alex Haley died in 1992.
"So much of African-American history gets lost and is sometimes not in the place where we prefer it to be," Haley said.
Malcolm X's letter, written after a pilgrimage to Mecca, addresses the recent time he spent with Muslims "whose skin was the whitest of white."
"In fact, what I have seen and experienced on this pilgrimage has forced me to 're arrange' much of my thought patterns, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions," he wrote.
The letter was sent to publisher Grove Press for inclusion in the autobiography, which was first published in 1965. Grove included the letter in files it gave to Syracuse University in 1969.
Sean M. Quimby, senior director of the university's Special Collections Research Center, said it has documentation from Grove that shows Syracuse owns the transferred archive. He said the school's ownership had never been challenged before in 43 years and he has not seen any evidence that the letter was lent, instead of given, to Grove.
"Our library and our special collections are publicly available to anyone, and there is a greater good served," Quimby added.
Haley's attorney, Gregory J. Reed of Detroit, said Haley passed along the letter to Grove only so it could be included in the autobiography and that Grove never had legal title.
Haley said he is acting now because he only found out about details of the letter recently after talking to Reed, who collects Malcolm X material.
+ Top Story
The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.
The woman’s voice was frantic and breathless, and she was choking back tears. “Help me. I’m Amanda Berry,” she told a 911 dispatcher. “I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been missing for 10 years and I’m, I’m here, I’m free now.”
PepsiCo is once again learning the risks of celebrity partnerships after an ad for Mountain Dew was criticized for portraying racial stereotypes and making light of violence toward women. The soda and snack food company said it immediately pulled the 60-second spot after learning that people found it offensive.
Kiera Wilmot, 16, is by all known accounts an excellent student with impeccable behavior. She is also — now — a marked woman who will be tried as an adult for discharging a weapon on school grounds in what was allegedly a bungled science experiment," reports WSTB.com.
America's blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.
Three college friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were arrested and accused Wednesday of trying to protect him by going into his dorm room and getting rid of a backpack filled with hollowed-out fireworks three days after the deadly attack.
Chris Kelly, half of the 1990s kid rap duo behind one of the decade's most memorable songs, "Jump," has died at an Atlanta hospital of an apparent drug overdose, authorities said. He was 34. Kelly, known as "Mac Daddy," and Chris Smith, known as "Daddy Mac," made up the rap group Kris Kross...
According to the data found in a new report, “The Buying Power of Black America,” now may be the most opportune time ever for businesses to develop a strategy for increasing their share of the Black American market.