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The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

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This “landmark” (Ibram X. Kendi) dual biography of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King transforms our understanding of the twentieth century’s most iconic African American leaders.

To most Americans, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. represent contrasting ideals: self-defense versus nonviolence, Black Power versus civil rights, the sword versus 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. Now updated with a new afterword, this is a strikingly revisionist account of Malcolm and Martin, the era they defined, and their lasting impact on today’s Movement for Black Lives.

ISBN-13: 9781541619616

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Basic Books

Publication Date: 10-05-2021

Pages: 400

Product Dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Peniel E. Joseph is the Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin. He has written several previous books on African American history, including Stokely: A Life. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Beyond Dreams and Nightmares 1

Chapter 1 The Radical Dignity of Malcolm X 25

Chapter 2 The Radical Citizenship of Martin Luther King 55

Chapter 3 The World Stage 81

Chapter 4 A World on Fire 103

Chapter 5 Birmingham's Radicals 135

Chapter 6 "Now Is the Time to Make Real the Promise of Democracy" 157

Chapter 7 "What Is a Dream to You Is a Nightmare to Us" 173

Chapter 8 "Seeking Freedom Like Dr. King, but Faster" 199

Chapter 9 The Radical King 235

Chapter 10 The Revolutionary King 267

Epilogue: The Legacy of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. 307

Acknowledgments 319

Archives Sourced 325

Notes 329

Index 361