WBEZ | Malcolm X http://www.wbez.org/tags/malcolm-x Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Malcolm X heirs sue Chicago’s Third World Press http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-11/malcolm-x-heirs-sue-chicago%E2%80%99s-third-world-press-109132 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP070221174520.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">When we think about Malcolm X and his legacy, the definitive source material is still his own works, especially <a href="http://www.studio360.org/story/95194-american-icons-the-autobiography-of-malcolm-x/">The Autobiography of Malcolm X</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Published after his assassination in 1965, and co-authored with Alex Haley, the autobiography is a conversion narrative that tracks his embrace of black nationalism and Islam, first in America and then abroad.</p><p dir="ltr">This month though, Chicago&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.thirdworldpressbooks.com/wp1/">Third World Press</a> promised to release a book just as compelling. A book according to vice president <a href="http://chicagoweekly.net/2008/05/08/third-world-press-bennett-johnson-publishes-the-books-they-dont-want-you-to-read/">Bennett Johnson</a> that reveals &ldquo;the real Malcom X.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The Diary of Malcolm X documents the activist and religious leader&rsquo;s life after he broke with the Nation of Islam up until his assassination a year later.</p><p dir="ltr">Third World planned to release it this week. But last Friday <a href="http://nypost.com/2013/11/08/malcolm-x-kin-sue-to-stop-diary-publication/">a Manhattan attorney filed a lawsuit </a>to block publication.</p><p dir="ltr">The suit was filed on behalf of some of Malcolm X&rsquo;s children, who say the book is unauthorized.</p><p dir="ltr">Johnson claims Third World Press signed a contract earlier this year. They acquired the diary from Malcolm&rsquo;s daughter Ilyhasah Al-Shabazz, who is also the book&rsquo;s editor, along with Herb Boyd (who edited a previously anthology on Malcolm X for Third World).</p><p dir="ltr">Johnson says he&rsquo;s not sure why the family members are blocking publication. He first got wind of the action a couple of weeks ago.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been asking all along, &lsquo;what do you want so we can work something out?&rsquo;&rdquo; says Johnson. &ldquo;And all we get from them is &lsquo;we want you to stop,&rsquo; which you know obviously is a non-starter. That&rsquo;s not how you do business.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">According to an article in the New York Post, an entity formed by the heirs of the slain activist has &ldquo;exclusive rights to publish, reproduce and distribute the diaries worldwide.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Johnson counters that their arrangement divides royalties from the book among the six daughters.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I knew Malcolm X. I didn&rsquo;t know him that well and I think he&rsquo;d be very disturbed by this confusion over his diary.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Johnson says a hearing on the suit should take place today. Calls to the Manhattan attorney who filed the suit went unanswered.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Alison Cuddy is an arts and culture reporter for WBEZ and host of TV podcast Changing Channels. Follow her on Twitter </em>@wbezacuddy.</p></p> Tue, 12 Nov 2013 10:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-11/malcolm-x-heirs-sue-chicago%E2%80%99s-third-world-press-109132 Chicago film pioneer Ronn Pitts dies http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-09/chicago-film-pioneer-ronn-pitts-dies-108745 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6674_121115-Ron-Pitts2_0.jpg" style="height: 260px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="File: Filmmaker Ronn Pitts at his Columbia College Chicago office in 2012. (WBEZ/Alison Cuddy)" /><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YCTALHzoeg">Ronn Pitts</a> was such a popular and beloved teacher at Columbia College Chicago, some of his students created a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/66576121688/">Facebook page</a> praising his &ldquo;cool&rdquo;.</div><p>Pitts, a native of Bronzeville, died yesterday at the age of 76. He lived a remarkable and adventurous life, including breaking the color barrier in Chicago filmmaking and academic circles.</p><p>But his biggest impact may well be as a teacher and mentor, a man committed to community and social activism.</p><p>Pitts was both cool and warm. When I met him in late 2012, I felt as if I&rsquo;d immediately made a lifelong friend. I&rsquo;ve yet to meet a faculty member or student at Columbia who doesn&rsquo;t remember him fondly.</p><p>Jerry Blumenthal of Kartemquin Films met Pitts when, with Margaret Caples, they set up the <a href="http://www.cfwchicago.org/">Community Film Workshop</a> at the &ldquo;old&rdquo; Columbia College (then located at 540 Lake Shore Drive).</p><p>&ldquo;He made you feel very good and very happy about being a member of the film community,&rdquo; said Blumenthal. &ldquo;He was a great comrade, extremely friendly and funny and warm.&rdquo;</p><p>Like many others, Blumenthal says Pitts was also humble and never got the recognition he deserved.</p><p>Pitts led a life with Zelig-like qualities: He found himself in the midst of history-making events time and time again.</p><p>He was the first African-American hired to teach film at Columbia College and was still teaching there at the time of his death. He also broke color barriers as a filmmaker. Pitts and Joe Stratton, the man he called &nbsp;&ldquo;my best friend of all friends,&rdquo; were hired by George Halas in the 1960s to shoot film for the Chicago Bears.</p><p>&ldquo;We were the first blacks to shoot for any professional football team ever,&rdquo; Pitts said in a 2012 interview.</p><p>He also recounted adventures like filming during the 1965 march to Selma, Ala., and being &ldquo;kidnapped&rdquo; by Muhammad Ali to document the boxer as he prepared for his big fight against George Foreman in 1974.</p><p>Pitts got into film by working as a shipping clerk at a camera rental company, a job his mother got him (before that he was a bookie placing bets on horses). But shooting film was a major struggle.</p><p>&ldquo;There were no blacks shooting (news) cameras until 1973,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;There were no women, no blacks, nothing but white males.&rdquo;</p><p>In our 2012 interview, Pitts told me his own students got the same treatment when he sent them out to cover news, including fires or speeches by the mayor.</p><p>&ldquo;That was a great experience, because then I recognized what prejudice truly was,&rdquo; Pitts said. &ldquo;Those old men, they would cut their cords,&rdquo; and challenged him for training minorities.</p><p>Pitts eventually left Chicago, settling in San Francisco for 17 years. While there, he captured the death of gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk on film. He was in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem the night Malcolm X was assassinated (Pitts said his footage was seized by police). And, he was behind the camera the day <strike>Chicago Bears</strike>&nbsp;Detroit Lions wide receiver Chuck Hughes died of a heart attack on the Tiger Stadium field, during a game against the Chicago Bears. Pitts said those moments were the &ldquo;shocking things&rdquo; about filmmaking. &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t take it back,&quot; he said. &quot;And you sleep with that at night, knowing that you captured death in your lens.&quot;</p><p>Pitts received his share of accolades &ndash; there&rsquo;s a <a href="http://www.colum.edu/Student_Financial_Services/create-a-plan/scholarships/ronn-pitts.php">scholarship in his name</a> at Columbia and he&rsquo;s been recognized by other film organizations. &nbsp;October 10 was declared Ronn Pitts day in Chicago, and Charles Celander, the Operations Manager in Columbia&rsquo;s Cinema Art and Science program, says they always celebrate with cake and good cheer.</p><p>That&rsquo;s a fitting tribute for Pitts, who despite some truly heavy experiences, remained a light and joyful spirit. &nbsp;When we spoke, Pitts said he considered himself a real live servant, a mission he encouraged others to accept.</p><p>&ldquo;We are here on this planet to take care of each other,&rdquo; said Pitts. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s it.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter and co-hosts the WBEZ podcasts <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels</a> and <a href="https://soundcloud.com/strangebrews">Strange Brews</a>. Follow her on<a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy"> Twitter</a>,<a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn"> Facebook</a> and<a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport"> Instagram</a></em></p></p> Mon, 23 Sep 2013 16:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-09/chicago-film-pioneer-ronn-pitts-dies-108745 Malcolm X forum headlines Chicago library http://www.wbez.org/content/malcolm-x-forum-headlines-chicago-library <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-15/2011-04-22-MalcolmXALifeofReinvention.jpeg" alt="" /><p><p>Local African-American scholars and others will debate a controversial account of Malcolm X this Saturday.</p><p>The book “<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Malcolm-X-Reinvention-Manning-Marable/dp/0670022209">Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention</a>” hit the shelves in April to much fanfare and fodder. The author, Manning Marable, died shortly before the work’s publication.</p><p>Armstead Allen teaches African-American studies at Olive Harvey College and is a forum organizer. He said the new book brings up elements that did not appear in the seminal “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” which was published in 1965.</p><p>“The idea that Malcolm overstated his involvement with the underworld. There’s some question on whether or not Malcolm engaged in homosexual activity,” Allen said.</p><p>Allen said Malcolm X is especially important to Chicago because his early activist ideology came from the Nation of Islam, which is based on Chicago’s South Side.</p><p>Other scholars, including Haki Madhubuti, Linda Murray and Adam Green, will speak at the forum examining Marable’s work.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 15 Jul 2011 21:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/malcolm-x-forum-headlines-chicago-library