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It’s the most devastating of stories: Writer spends decades working on a book, then dies just days before it drops. But as much as the death of Manning Marable might tug at the hearts of the radical historian’s family, friends, and former students, his publisher has to be especially let down. After a career full of scholarly works, Marable was about to become a bestseller via an epic biography of a major figure for a non-academic publishing house. Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention offers new perspectives on a frequently mischaracterized man whom Marable argues is crucial to understanding the black experience in the 20th century. The book has managed to make news, and generate considerable controversy, with revelations about Malcolm’s sexuality and a new theory of his murder. Alas, Marable won’t be there to take up his side, but three of his peers—Kristen Clarke, the co-editor of Marable’s essay collection, Barack Obama and African American Empowerment; labor scholar Bill Fletcher; and Howard University historian Greg Carr—will headline a tribute event where the best way to pay homage will be by starting a new argument.

The event begins at 7 p.m. at Politics & Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.