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

Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Registration is requested
Free and open to the public

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

Peniel E. Joseph in conversation with David Waters

To most Americans, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. represent contrasting ideals: self-defense vs. nonviolence, black power vs. civil rights, 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 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. This is a strikingly revisionist biography, not only of Malcolm and Martin, but also of the movement and era they came to define.


“[As] Peniel E. Joseph argues in his incisive, smartly written new book, The Sword and the Shield, history has turned both men into caricatures. We’ve lost sight of King’s true radicalism. We’ve lost sight of Malcolm’s more moderate approach to black nationalism that emerged after his break with the Nation of Islam. And, in Mr. Joseph’s view, we’ve lost sight of how each man shaped the other.” —Jonathan Eig, The Wall Street Journal

Peniel E. Joseph is the Barbara Jordan professor of political values and ethics 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

David Waters is Minister for Education and Membership at King’s Chapel in Boston. A former Chief Navy Counselor, he holds degrees from Parkland College, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and Harvard Divinity School. As a Swartz Scholar at HDS, he combined his interests in religion, literature, and culture with an exploration of scholarship and teaching as ministry, and reading and writing as spiritual practice. His work examined a series of interconnected short stories by Virginia Woolf, asking how these stories—and the method of their composition—work to shape us religiously, spiritually, and ethically. When not reading, writing, preaching, David enjoys good eating, distance running, and hearty laughter. He is enormously grateful for the King’s Chapel community and for the opportunity to be in their midst as one who serves.


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