Influential African-American Leaders

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Right from the introduction of the book, James Cone quotes Martin & Malcolm on the first page as saying…

Martin Luther King Jr.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day…sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit  down together at the table of brotherhood…This is our hope…With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day…This will be the day when all God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning, “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.
March on Washington
Washington, D.C.
28 August 1963

Malcolm X

No, I’m not an American. I’m one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism. One of the…victims of democracy, nothing but disguised hypocrisy. So, I’m not standing here speaking to you as an American, or a patriot, or a flag-saluter, or a flag-waver–no, not I! I’m speaking as a victim of this American system. And I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don’t see any American dream; I see an American nightmare!

Malcolm X
Cory Methodist Church
Cleveland, Ohio
3 April 1964

Martin & Malcolm had opposite views of American, but as James Cone exposes your mind from the introduction of “Martin & Malcolm & American – A Dream or a Nightmare,” throughout the book until your reach the conclusion. I saw two influential men whose efforts, focus and destination were one-in-the-same but from opposite ends of the spectrum.

For example, anything and everything can be viewed from different points, angles, levels, directions, etc., but the viewpoint is never the same. Here’s what I mean.

You can place two people in front of a clear glass window facing each other and their viewpoints will never be the same. Why? They will see each other, they would never see themselves. But the opposite is just as true. If you change the clear glass window to a mirror, their viewpoints will change, yet they will never be the same. Why? Because now they see themselves, they would never see each other.

But don’t take my word for it, grab a copy of the book for yourself, read it and then come back and post your viewpoint of Martin & Malcolm & American. I’m sure you’ll see things from a different perspective.

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