Judge Postpones Sale of Malcolm X Private Diary, Extends Publishing Ban


Attempts by publisher Third World Press to release the private diary of El Haij Malik El Shabazz, better known as Malcolm X, have once again been foiled, according to the Associated Press.

In a Nov. 22 decision, U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain told the Chicago-based company that they did not have permission to publish and sell the book, titled “The Diary of Malcolm X.” A restraining order put in place earlier in the year was extended to next year. The next court date for the case will take place in January.

The book was set for a November release before descendants of Malcolm X filed a lawsuit against the publishing company in the federal U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Heirs to the slain leader formed X Legacy LLC, or Legacy X, and say that they alone own all of the works the publisher is now attempting to sell with the permission of only one daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, who also helped edit the text.

According to court documents, the approval of all heirs is needed before a decision to publish can be made.

“The diaries are original works written by Malcolm X that are copyrightable,” the judge wrote in her decision. “X Legacy has the exclusive rights to publish, reproduce, and distribute the Diaries in all languages throughout the world, including the right to publish it.”

“Neither Ilyasah Shabazz nor Herb Boyd has any ownership rights or authority to grant any rights to copy, publish, or disseminate the Diaries,” she wrote.

Born in Omaha, Neb. on May 19, 1925, the activist that would become a symbol for generations to come entered this world as Malcolm Little.

One of eight children, local White supremacists ran the family from town to town before finally taking the life of his father, Earl Little, in 1931 in Lansing, Mich.

The author and orator recounted his childhood to Alex Haley in “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” sparing no details of the life of drugs and crime that nearly wrecked his adult life.

Published the same year he was murdered in February of 1965, it was a work he never saw published.

Members of X Legacy say they have reasons to hold off publication of the diary and other writings.

According to court documents, “Legacy X intends to release and publish the diaries on or about the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, in February 2015.”

Judge Postpones Sale of Malcolm X Private Diary, Extends Publishing Ban

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