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Missing unpublished, secret chapter of Malcolm X’s autobiography finally found

Rare documents penned by both Malcolm X and writer Alex Haley have recently been sold at auction, which includes a unpublished section of the civil rights activist’s autobiography.

Thursday, the New York Times reports that  the Guernsey’s auction house in Manhattan sold the 241-page draft manuscript to the Harlem-based Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for an undisclosed sum, along with an unpublished manuscript of a chapter entitled, The Negro, for $7,000.

The documents include handwritten notations by both men, and a passage in which Malcolm writes: “We are like the Western deserts; tumbleweed, rolling and tumbling whichever way the white wind blows. And the white man is like the cactus, deeply rooted, with spines to keep us off.”

This sale has finally answered a longstanding question in regards to the classic autobiography that was originally published in 1964: what happened to the alleged missing chapters that may have contained some of Malcolm X’s most controversial thoughts.

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Schomburg director Kevin Young confirmed The Negro was in fact the unpublished missing section that so many have speculated about.

For years the manuscript of the autobiography was owned by Gregory Reed, a lawyer for Rosa Parks who purchased the collection from Haley’s estate. Young believes this draft of the book is of immense value, not just for historic reasons, but also due to the handwritten revisions and intimate comments scribbled in it by Malcolm X and Haley.

The notes “are a very direct narrative that he’s crafting,” reveals Young, citing the image of racist cross-burning that Malcolm X’s mother described to him as a child. “And that’s what brings him into the world.”

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Ahead of Thursday’s sale, in its description of the documents Guernsey’s auction house said: “As part of this extraordinary two-day auction, there will be 17 lots of rare documents written by both Malcolm X and noted author Alex Haley. The lots include many chapters from Malcolm X’s Autobiography, as told to Alex Haley. This original typed manuscript contains many handwritten notations by both men. Also included are unpublished chapters and many separate pages written by Malcolm X.”

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