Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Martin & Malcolm

Today's discussion centered on particular comparisons between MLK and Malcolm X. Focusing on King's life post-1963, the "radical" phase Harvard Sitkoff captures in his recent book, students analyzed the following King speeches for content, rhetoric, and references to religion in general and Christianity in particular: Nobel Prize Speech (December 1964), Mountaintop Speech (April 1968), and the God is Marching On (March 1965)address.

After listening to excerpts from King speeches, we read and discussed King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" after reading the letter that prompted King's reply issued in 1963 by white Alabama clergy.

Students also listened to a Malcolm X address from December 1964--the same month King delivered his Nobel Prize speech--and began to view clips from Spike Lee's 1992 movie Malcolm X.

Although we didn't discuss it in class today, an important book on the subject is theologian James Cone's Martin & Malcolm: A Dream or a Nightmare (1992). Read an interview with Cone in which he discusses the book.

Equally important is Manning Marable's forthcoming biography of Malcolm X. Marable is involved in the Malcolm X Project at Columbia, and has talked about this work in several places. Check it out here and here.

Other primary materials include some of the FBI files on Martin and Malcolm.

[Photo credit here.]

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