To most Americans, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. represent contrasting ideals: self-defense vs. nonviolence, black power vs. civil rights, the sword vs. the shield. The struggle for black freedom is wrought with the same contrasts. While nonviolent direct action is remembered as an unassailable part of American democracy, the movement's militancy is either vilified or erased outright. In The Sword and the Shield, Peniel E. Joseph upends these misconceptions and reveals a nuanced portrait of two men who, despite markedly different backgrounds, inspired and pushed each other throughout their adult lives. This is a strikingly revisionist biography, not only of Malcolm and Martin, but also of the movement and era they came to define.
This program will be available to watch live on Facebook Live, on YouTube, and on the OCPL website's LWB Livestream page. Log into your Facebook or YouTube account during the program to leave questions for Peniel in the comments box. He will answer them during the live broadcast.
PRESENTER BIO: Peniel E. Joseph is the Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and professor of history and the founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a frequent national commentator on issues of Antiracism, Democracy and Civil Rights. He has written several previous books on African American history, including The Sword and The Shield and Stokely: A Life. The Sword and the Shield was named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2020. He lives in Austin, Texas.
This dual biography of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King upends longstanding preconceptions to transform our understanding of the twentieth century's most iconic African American leaders.
“A brilliant revisionist study of the lives of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Effectively challenging the conventional dichotomy between the two men, it shows, instead, how their paths became increasingly convergent, coming to represent ‘overlapping and intersecting strains of revolutionary black activism.’”―The Guardian
"As the author delineates the philosophies and tactics of each man, he compares and contrasts them on nearly every page, making the various narrative strands cohere nicely. An authoritative dual biography from a leading scholar of African American history."―Kirkus
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