Raymond Fisher: ‘Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Debate’

Malcolm X

Source:Raymond Fisher– Minister Malcom X, I believe being interviewed at Berkeley, California in the 1960s.

Source:The Daily Press 

“American history as it’s usually taught likes to focus on rivalries, and there are many involving big personalities and major historical stakes. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington. These figures are set up to represent the “both sides” we expect of every political question. While the issues are oversimplified (there are always more than two sides and politics isn’t a sport) the figures in question genuinely represented very different perspectives on power and progress.

When it comes to the history of the Civil Rights movement, we are given another such rivalry, between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Their ideas and influence are pitted against each other as though they had shared a debate stage. In fact, the two leaders met only once, during Senate debates on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “King was stepping out of a news conference,” writes DeNeen L. Brown at The Washington Post, when Malcolm X, dressed in an elegant black overcoat and wearing his signature horn-rimmed glasses, greeted him.”

From Open Culture 

“Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Debate”

From Raymond Fisher

This was the ultimate debate (that never happened in person between Reverend King and Minister Malcolm X) as it related to the civil rights movement and perhaps generally as well, because it involved the two most effective and intelligent spokespeople when it came to civil rights and equal rights. And two of the most effective spokespeople when it came to individual freedom in general.

Before the civil rights legislation of the 1960s and to a certain extent after that, African-Americans didn’t have the same freedom as Caucasian-Americans. Even though they had the same constitutional rights under law as every other American in the country.

African-Americans simply weren’t getting their constitutional rights enforced. Which is exactly what Dr. Martin King and Minister Malcolm X were trying to accomplish. They wanted African-Americans to have the same freedom as any other American in the country, they just had two different approaches.

The MLK approach was to show the country that they were freedom fighters fighting for freedom, but they weren’t trying to destroy the country. Just the system that held them down and we’re going to accomplish it by exercising their constitutional rights of Freedom of Speech and Assembly.

Malcolm X’s approach was different, that the way to destroy the system, was by any means necessary, even if that means violence. That what they were fighting for which was their own freedom just as the Caucasian community had, should already be there’s. And that the racists should just get-out-of-the-way, or they’ll be run over. That there wasn’t any negotiation, because African-Americans already had the freedom under law and under the Constitution that every other community had in America. Which meant that racist Southern Anglo-Saxon bigots and other racist Caucasians, should either step aside, or they’ll be forcefully removed by the African-American community.

About Erik Schneider

Full-time blogger on a multiple ray of topics and subjects, because of multiple interests.
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