Unpublished Writings From ‘The Autobiography Of Malcolm X’ Sold At Auction


Several pages cut from The Autobiography of Malcolm X were auctioned off Thursday (July 26) alongside an unreleased original typed manuscript containing rare documents written by Malcolm X, and co-author Alex Haley.  The “Malcolm X Papers,” a treasure trove of rare documents sold by New York City auction house Guernse’y, features seventeen lots of documents including chapters from the autobiography as told to Haley, and several “separate pages written by Malcolm X.”

According to the New York Times, a previously unseen chapter called “The Negro,” sold for $7,000 to New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Kevin Young, director of the Schomburg Center, confirmed the sale. “The Autobiography [of Malcolm X] is one of the most important books of the 20th century,” said Young. “To have the version with Malcolm X’s corrections, and to be able to see his thoughts taking shape, is incredibly powerful.” The Harlem-Based center, which is one of the “leading institutions focusing exclusively on African-American, African Diaspora, and African experiences,” will make the Malcolm X documents available to researchers.

The writings were sold as part of an auction of “African American Historic & Cultural Treasures” that includes Rosa Parks’ Detroit home, and her handwritten notes about meeting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the first time. Along with the nearly a dozen pages from the autobiography, the Schaumburg Center also purchased the original manuscript, complete with notations between Malcolm X and Haley. The amount of the purchase wasn’t disclosed but the minimum opening bid was set at $40,000, the Times reports.

The “Negro,” presumably written before Malcolm’s split from the Nation of Islam, was axed from the autobiography before its was released in 1965, shortly after Malcolm’s assassination. The New York Times published the first page of the chapter which reads:

The Western World is sick. The American society — with the song of Christianity providing the white man with the illusion that what he has done to the black man is ‘right’ — is as sick as Babylon. And the black man here in this wilderness, the so-called ‘Negro,’ is sickest of them all.

The black man here is the world ’s only race of people that tries to get social, and civic, and economic equality by begging for it.

The black man here is the nation’s only large minority that has gone for one hundred years as the biggest drain on social welfare, as the forever ghetto-dweller, the forever most-unemployed, the forever most-unified race.

The black man here, man for man, is the forever biggest consumer at the same time he is the biggest non-producer. And when you got that combination, you have got — automatically — a man that somebody else has to got produce and provide for.

The so-called “Negro” here is a perfect parasite image — the black tick under the delusion that he is progressing because he is riding on the back of the fat, three-stomached cow that is white America.”

The typed manuscript and unpublished pages belonged to Haley until his death in 1992, when the work was auctioned off to settle debts against his estate. Gregory Reed, a prominent Detroit lawyer who represented Parks, claimed to have paid more than $100,000 for three unreleased chapters titled: “The Negro”, “20 Million Muslims”, and “The End of Christianity.” In 2010, Reed read a portion of the unpublished work for the first time publicly at the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center (formerly the Auduban Ballroom, the site of Malcolm’s assassination).

Reed lost possession of the documents, and other historical treasures, in a bankruptcy case where he was accused of stealing several pieces of “civil rights memorabilia.”

It’s unclear where the remaining missing chapters ended up. Reed said that he doesn’t know how they disappeared from the collection.

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