Missing pages of Malcolm X’s autobiography purchased by the Schomburg Center at NY auction
Long rumored missing chapters of Malcolm X’s autobiography turned up at an auction this week. Literary scholars had assumed that there were missing chapters of Alex Haley and Malcolm X’s joint effort floating around, but never had they been made available to the general public.
Instead, the copies circulated among private individuals who often teased historians and researchers with their existence, but never made those chapters more broadly available.
That changed when the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture paid $7,000 at the Guernsey auction house in Manhattan. The Schomburg already houses a collection gifted to them by the family of the Muslim minister, and Director Kevin Young told the Associated Press that this is legitimately unpublished material.
Young tells ABC News, “I examined them, and I don’t know what those are, it’s too early to tell; they look like they were probably stapled at one time, or cut and pasted; some are half of a page, or just slips of paper.” Young elaborated, “The best way to describe them is that they’re literal fragments and literary fragments… You see in these pages the history of black people in America… And we’re bringing the sons and daughters of Harlem home.”
Additionally, the Schomburg also purchased a complete manuscript of Alex Haley’s and Malcolm X’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X for an undisclosed amount during that same auction. According to the New York Times, bidding began at $40,000.
The manuscript had been held by Gregory Reed, most notable for representing Rosa Parks and Motown musicians as a lawyer. Reed came into possession of the unpublished material at an estate sale by the family of Alex Haley made to pay off the author’s debts.