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U of M’s Hooks Institute Gives "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention" Its 2011 National Book Award

For release: September 20, 2012
For press information, contact Aram Goudsouzian or Daphene R. McFerren, 901-678-3974

The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis has chosen as this year’s winner of its National Book Award Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (Viking 2011), by Manning Marable. 

Some of the nation’s leading university and commercial presses nominated 25 books for the Hooks Institute National Book Award.  All nominated books were originally published in 2011.  The Book Award Committee, consisting of six professors from various U of M departments and from other institutions in Memphis, selected five finalists.  They included Serena Mayeri’s, Reasoning From Race: Feminism, Law, and the Civil Rights Revolution (Harvard); Tomiko Brown-Nagin’s, Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford); Lawrence P. Jackson’s, The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics, 1934-1960 (Princeton); and David Margolick’s, Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock (Yale).

The committee considered Malcolm X (Viking) a model for historical biography.  Over the course of his life, the man born Malcolm Little donned “multiple masks.”  He was a “hustler,” a prisoner, a preacher, a celebrity, a villain and a hero.  He earned his place in history as a scathing critic of American race relations, a counterpoint to the nonviolent civil rights movement, and a voice of black nationalism that stretched throughout the world.  Marable deftly charts Malcolm X’s political evolution, while revealing extraordinary details about his personal life.   Malcolm X was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize in April 2012.

Marable, a longtime professor at Columbia University, died just before the publication of his masterwork.  At a date to be announced later, a representative from Viking Press will discuss Marable’s biography of Malcolm X at the University of Memphis as part of the Hooks Institute lecture series.


The Hooks Institute is now accepting nominations for the Hooks Institute National Book Award for scholarly books published in 2012 that best further our understanding of the American Civil Rights Movement and its legacy.  Detailed guidelines for nominations are available online at  Nominations  for the 2012 Award must be postmarked by December 31, 2012.

In 1996, University of Memphis officials received approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents to create the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change in the College of Arts & Sciences. The mission of the Institute is teaching, studying, and promoting civil rights and social change. The Hooks Institute archives include Hooks’ personal papers, which are housed in the Mississippi Valley Collection in the University’s McWherter Library.


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