November 2013 | Nate Pedersen

Malcolm X's Family Sues to Prevent Publication of Diary

Malcolm X's heirs are suing to stop the publication of his diary by Third World Press. The civil rights activist's diary, about his travels in Africa and the Middle East in 1964 on the eve of his assassination, is set to launch this week. The book, entitled "The Diary of Malcolm X: 1964" is a reproduction of material currently on loan to New York Public Library from Malcolm X's daughters.

Several of those daughters are now claiming that Third World Press does not have a right to publish the material. Malcolm X's heirs formed a company called "X Legacy" which seeks to "protect and enhance the value of the property held by his estate." That company filed papers in a Manhattan federal court asking for the court to halt the publication of the diary as Third World Press does not hold the relevant rights.

Third World Press believes otherwise. In fact, they signed a contract to publish the diary with one of Malcolm X's daughters, Ilyasah Shabazz. She is listed as a co-editor on the book and can be seen in a video on the publisher's website discussing its publication. Shabazz, however, signed away her rights to X Legacy - and by extension to her father's work - in 2011.

So it's a complicated web.

Meanwhile - and ironically under the circumstances - Third World Press is running an Indiegogo campaign to finance a marketing effort for the diary. The sudden controversy over its publication, however, is already generating plenty of media attention.

At this point, it appears that "The Diary of Malcolm X: 1964" will publish on schedule on Thursday, November 14th.

[Image from Wikipedia]