The Sword And The Shield

The Sword And The Shield: The Revolutionary Lives Of Malcolm X And Martin King Jr.

This dual biography of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. upends longstanding preconceptions to transform our understanding of the twentieth century’s most iconic African American leaders.

Lyndon Johnson Championed Passage Of Legislation

Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon Johnson championed passage of legislation in honor of the martyred John F. Kennedy, who had urged the nation and Congress to embrace civil right’s as a “moral issue” in the months before his November 22,1963, assassination in Dallas Texas.

King’s presence among the spectator’s gallery added a buzz of excitement to the proceedings. He arrived in Washington as the single most influential civil right’s leader in the nation. His “I Have A Dream” speech during the previous summer’s March on Washington catapulted him into the ranks of America’s unelected yet no less official, moral and political leaders.

“Man Of The Year” For 1963

Time magazine named Martin Luther King Jr. “Man Of The Year” for 1963 and, unbeknownst to King at that moment, he stood on the cusp of being announced as a Nobel Prize recipient.

Man Of The Year
“Man of the Year”

King emerged as the most well-known leader of the “Big Six” national civil right’s organizations, which include the NAACP’s Roy Wilkin’s, James Farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the National Urban League’s Whitney Young, A. Philip Randolph of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced “snick”) chairman and further Georgia Congressman John Lewis.

Malcolm X’s Presence In Senate Gallery

Also that day, Malcolm X’s presence in the Senate Gallery, on the other hand, stoked fear, surprise, and bewilderment among journalists and spectators. From 1957 to 1963, Malcolm served as the “national representative” of the Nation of Islam (NOI), the controversial religious group whose defiant resistance against white supremacy gained King and Malcolm X, and large following in the black community and fear and suspicion among white Americans.

The NOI forbade its members from actively engaging in political demonstrations, but Malcolm rejected these rules and inserted himself into the black freedom struggle on his own terms. He arrived in Washington on a mission to establish his political independence after a dramatic departure from the NOI.

Malcolm X
Malcolm X

Malcolm said: He set his political sights on eradicating “the racist cancer that is malignant in the body of America,”, a fight that would take him to the corridors of national power. Even as Malcolm sought to influence the center of American government alongside Martin Luther King Jr., he remained a political maverick whose bold truths upset some very civil right’s forces he now sought an alliance with.

Malcolm was a political renegade, unafraid to identify racial injustice in America as a systemic illness that required nothing less than the radical transformation of the political and racial status quo.

Martin Luther King Jr. VS. Malcolm X

Martin Luther King Jr. exited the visitor’s gallery in the afternoon to speak to reporters in a conference room, where Malcolm sat like a spectral figure on a rear sofa. Lately, King had been preoccupied with Malcolm.

Malcolm and Mrtin
Martin and Malcolm

During a recent interview with author Robert Penn Warren, King took umbrage with Malcolm labeling him as “soft.”, Just eight days later he now stood for the first time in the same room as a man many considered to be his evil twin.

King ignored Malcolm and announced plans for a national “direct action” campaign scheduled to begin in May.

But in the Senate building, Malcolm offered full-throated support for the pending legislation. The New York Times announced, “Malcolm X Backs Rights Bill” in a short article that introduced him as “the black nationalist’ leader.

By 1964, Malcolm X had turned black nationalism-a historic blend of cultural pride, racial unity, and political self-determination-into a bracing declaration of political independence for himself and large swaths of black folk.

This shift recognized mainstream democratic institutions, including the right to vote as crucial weapons in the struggle for black dignity and citizenship.

Book For Racial Injustices In 2020

This book is a wonderful history lesson for all of us in 2020, I felt that is so powerful and how to get the injustices portrayed against black and brown people (even today, 50 years later), that I had to write about it. The way that Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. came together for the better good of their people, to make change, to gain the right to vote, to be heard by the United States Congress is a love story in my opinion. The love that both of these men displayed for their people and how they both, in their own ways fought to change the way American’s think and respect the black people, is powerful and needs to be read, especially now in these times of upheaval in America.

Martin Luther King Jr.

I am proud to bring this book and it’it’s very human meaning of respect that these men, even though not displayed in public, had for one another and how they came together to change so many lives in 1963 and beyond.

In Conclusion

To most Americans, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. represent contrasting ideals: self-defense vs. nonviolence, black power vs. civil right’s, 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 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.

If you have any questions or want to leave a comment, please do below and I will get back with you as soon as I can.

The Sword And The ShieldIf you would like to purchase this book, please do HERE: The Sword And The Shield

All The Best,



8 thoughts on “The Sword And The Shield”

  1. The book sounds interesting, and of course captures one of the most critical moments in our nation’s history which is incredibly relevant to the many ongoing conversations today. The dichotomy that these two men embody, the question of “sword or shield,” is as old as the human race, and perhaps one of the many lessons we can take from their time is there is a time and place for both, that true change requires both.

    1. Thank you Shanna and I agree with you, that sometimes both have been needed in order for change to take place, but when two different leaders come together for all black men and women, than change will truly happen. Never has this been more prevalent then in today’s racist leader-Donald Trump-he is the divider-in-chief of The United States, that is what I have called him since he took office and it is more true today than it was in 2016. The protests for George Floyd are what needs to happen until all culpable persons are arrested for murder and in jail.

      And let us not forget Floyd and how the Trump Administration has handled this tragedy with closed mouth and an empty heart. Thanks again for your comment and have a great day.

  2. Heloooo there, this is really an interesting article on the sword and the shield.. I actually stumbled on your site which I must say it’s really interesting, filled with quality and useful content. I really find this post  interesting. 

    I really enjoyed reading this article, I will definitely visit your site some other time. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Sheddy and come back anytime, greatly appreciate the words you left and I am glad that you enjoyed the article, but the book is truly one for the ages, and especially now, with what is happening in The United States. Thanks again and have a great day.

  3. such an intriguing you got here on Malcolm X and Martin Luther King….I want to say you did an amazing job In putting up such my history on this great man, I must say that I’ve read quite a lot of history but never did come across this very one… thanks for the awesome write up I look forward to visiting your blog more often to read more of such great men

    1. Thank you Evans and come back anytime. I appreciate your words and I am glad that I could share this wonderful book with you.

  4. hello dear, wow what nice content do you have hear, your description for each words you shared makes it easier for the readers to form an opinion, i also want to thank you for the hard work you put into bringing these website together, your choice of words and writing skills is really amazing, and the description of each words you shared makes it easier for the readers to form n opinion, i already saved thee page so as to come back for future reference

    1. Thank you Skuchmane for your comment, and The Sword And The Shield is a story that needs to be told today as all the violence, racist, and hatred happening today. In my opinion the healing hasn’t even come close to starting, so I thought I would share how Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, even with their differences in styles of protests against a government that never seemed to hear them, came together to create change. Wonderful book by Peniel E. Joseph on how to great black leaders came together to change how the systemic norms in Washington were the problem. Start at the top, they said, and work your way down, the only way to create change and thanks to Lyndon B. Johnson’s decision to sign the Rights Bill, things did change, for awhile. Now we are more divided than ever in the age of Trump. 

      And the only way to make change again is to fight the government with protests and words, not violence. Thanks again for your comment, greatly appreciated.

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