Back in 1992, attorney Gregory Reed made the score of a lifetime after obtaining the original manuscripts for Malcolm X and Alex Haley’s 1965 book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. On Thursday (July 26), one of the three missing chapters were sold at an auction, bringing to the public one of the literary world’s most coveted works.
The New York Times reported on the missing chapters and their availability, which omitted by Haley who used the term “lava-like” to describe their contents. Speculation remains high even today that those chapters led to a greater rift between the Nation of Islam and the renowned civil rights leader.
The chapter that was sold, titled “The Negro,” was sold to the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for $7,000. In comparison, Reed paid $100,000 for the original manuscripts via a sale from the Haley estate. The entire manuscript for the published version of the autobiography was also up for auction at an opening bid of $40,000 but no takers initially but it was reported by the Times that the Schomburg Center also purchased the item for an unpublished amount.
The late Manning Marable, who wrote 2011’s Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for History in 2012, was once allowed to read a portion of the missing chapters but was only given 15 minutes to glance at the material by Reed. As it stands, a portion of that brief reading informed some of Marable’s writings but for years, the missing chapters remained elusive until now.