And speaking of Martin Luther King Jr., one of the things that made him more palatable to whites was the rise of Malcolm X, who spoke black truth to power in a more fiery way. King and Malcolm X were different only in style, for at the end of each of their lives – Malcolm X also was assassinated – they had more philosophically in common than not.
King opposed the Vietnam War and had moved on to economic justice issues. Malcolm X had broken with the Nation of Islam whose mentorship had given him a sense of purpose while in prison. They were, in reality, brothers.
The difference was, as author James Baldwin once wrote, that one was speaking about a country “yet to be brought into existence [while] Malcolm was speaking of the bitter and unanswerable present. And it was too important that this be heard for anyone to attempt to soften it.”
Then Baldwin, better known today via the movies “If Beale Street Could Talk” (he wrote the book) and “I Am Not Your Negro” (a must-see), added words that hold true today:
“It was important, of course, for white people to hear [of the bitter and unanswerable present], if they were still able to hear; but it was of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE (caps mine) for black people to hear it, for the sake of their morale.”
˜˜María T. Padilla, Editor
Originally posted to Facebook June 5.