The progress of scholarship is based on the inter-textuality of the research literature.  This is about how people connect their work with the work that precedes them.  The value of a work is how it interacts with the existing scholarship, including the need to affirm and negate, as well as to fill in where the existing literature is silent.  This is the importance of bibliography, a research guide to the existing literature.  A scholar is known by their mastery of the bibliography of their field of study.  This is why in every PhD dissertation there is always a chapter for the "review of the literature."

One of the dangers in Black Studies is that some work gets preferential treatment based on who is the author, what is their institutional affiliation, what journal or publishing house the work is in, and where it is reviewed.  Black Studies has to fight elitism and racism, both sides of the same coin.  It is a continuing struggle to get Black agency respected - Black authors, Black institutions, Black journals and publishing houses, and reviews in Black publications.  This is a struggle against forces outside of the Black Studies community as well as within it.

This is the challenge when we search for bibliography for work by and about Malcolm X.

We are fortunate to have the cooperation of the two main bibliographers on Malcolm X, Lenwood Davis (Winston-Salem State University) and Timothy Johnson (New York University).  They hold the copyright to their own work and have agreed to have a digital version posted to our website.  This is a great example of collaboration in the spirit of sharing and building solid scholarship on subjects important to the field of Black Studies.  Together these two volumes sum up the work by and about Malcolm X up to 1985.

As part of a course at the University of Illinois in the Department of African American Studies, AFRO 490: Theory in Black Studies, our students have started the process of extending this bibliography record from 1985 to 2011.  They are Chris Cole, Ivy Green, Kara Lester, Jean Selus, and Alyscia Vincent.  They are all graduating seniors with either a major or minor in Black Studies.  They are shining examples of our philosophy that the classroom should not only be a site of intellectual consumption, but also a site of production as well.  We all are to the good because of their work.

But this is not yet a definitive bibliography.  All three (Davis 1984, Johnson 1986, and the University of Illinois 2011) cover much, but not all, references that need to be part of the record.  To complete the record we need the community of Black Studies scholars to join in and provide the collective intelligence to make this inclusive, a list that digs down into all levels of Black publications, from national to local, from the US to the entire African Diaspora, and from publications to PhD and MA theses.

We anticipate that this process will continue well into the future.

   to contribute citations that you think need to be included.

Comments are welcome.