Skip to main content

Reply to "Does MLK Get A Bad Rap?"

In addition, I think instead of debating MLK vs. Malcolm X we ought to take a long look at W.E.B. Dubois vs. Booker T. Washington. That schism is far more relevant to our lives today.
Would you explain that? What that schism is?

I don't see either set as mutually exclusive.

And do you really think it was "safe" for a Black man to preach anything anywhere in America that "threatened" White America?

Perhaps this should move you beyond rhetoric:
In the late 1950s and 1960s, while Martin Luther King, Jr. rose to national prominence professing nonviolent direct action and interracial organizing, Malcolm X became a leader in the Nation of Islam advocating armed self-defense and the rejection of white allies. Upon leaving the Nation of Islam in 1964, however, Malcolm's ideology shifted to a unified, coalition-oriented struggle for black advancement. While King and Malcolm continued to be at odds over the role of nonviolence in the movement, Malcolm met with other civil rights organizations in the South and repeatedly tried to work with King. Although King and Malcolm X never worked together, Malcolm's ideology directly influenced the southern civil rights movement after his 1965 death with the emergence of Black Power...

Malcolm X was particularly harsh in his criticisms of the nonviolent strategy to achieve civil rights reforms advocated by Martin Luther King, Jr. During a November 1963 address at the Northern Negro Grass Roots Leadership Conference in Detroit, Malcolm derided the notion that African Americans could achieve freedom nonviolently. "The only revolution in which the goal is loving your enemy is the Negro revolution," he announced. "Revolution is bloody, revolution is hostile, revolution knows no compromise, revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in the way." Malcolm also charged that King and other leaders of the March on Washington had taken over the event, with the help of white liberals, in order to subvert its militancy. "And as they took it over, it lost its militancy. It ceased to be angry, it ceased to be hot, it ceased to be uncompromising," he insisted...

Despite his caustic criticisms of King, however, Malcolm nevertheless identified himself with the grass-roots leaders of the southern civil rights protest movement. Malcolm sought King's participation in public forums through letters, but King generally ignored these, relegating them to his secretary for reply. Malcolm's desire to move from rhetoric to political militancy led him to become increasingly dissatisfied with Elijah Muhammad's apolitical stance. As he later explained in his autobiography, "It could be heard increasingly in the Negro communities: 'Those Muslims talk tough, but they never do anything, unless somebody bothers Muslims.'"...

Determined to unify African-Americans, Malcolm sought to strengthen his ties with the more militant factions of the civil rights movement. At a Cleveland symposium sponsored by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in April 1964, Malcolm delivered one of his most notable speeches, "The Ballot or the Bullet," in which he urged black people to "submerge their differences and realize that it is best for us to first see that we have the same problem, a common problem--a problem that will make you catch hell whether you're a Baptist, or a Methodist, or a Muslim, or a nationalist."

Although he continued to reject King's nonviolent, integrationist approach, he and King had a brief, cordial encounter on 26 March 1964, as King left a press conference at the U.S. Capitol. Soon thereafter, Malcolm wired King to offer his support of King's campaign in St. Augustine, Florida. Malcolm offered to organize "self-defense units" to give the Klan a "taste of their own medicine to demonstrate that the day of turning the other cheek to those brute beasts is long over." King declined the offer, calling Malcolm's suggestion "a grave error" and "an immoral approach." In early 1965, while King was jailed in Selma, Alabama, Malcolm met with Coretta Scott King. He told her he did not come to Selma to make things more difficult for King, explaining, "If white people realize what the alternative is, perhaps they will be more willing to hear Dr. King."

King Papers Project

A Common Solution
Now what did you expect for Malcolm X to do? Move to the South and "pick fights" with the Klan to prove his manhood?

Let's be real. He traveled around the world, North, South, East and West "practicing what he preached"...

I would like you to explain what Malcolm X "preached" as being not so "tangible" and why the hell we are posing one versus the other? King/X... Dubois/Washington?

Why do we insist on Dividing And Conquering our own socio-political heritage?

And what exactly do you advice Jesse and Al to move to besides "agitation"? What are the new menthods you see as being more effective, up-to-date, etc.?

[This message was edited by Nmaginate on December 06, 2003 at 06:14 AM.]