This Day in History

March 26, 1964: Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X

Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship
Martin Luther King and Malcolm X

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X waiting for press conference. Source: Library of Congress.

On March 26, 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X met briefly by chance as they were waiting for a press conference.

The differences between them and the movements they represented are often oversimplified in textbooks.

The traditional curriculum portrays the Malcolm X and the Black Power Movement as the evil twins of the Civil Rights Movement while over simplifying the Civil Rights Movement and treating the Black Power Movement as “too hot to touch.”

In the new book, The Sword and the Shield, historian Peniel E. Joseph “offers a dual biography of Malcolm and Martin and a more nuanced narrative that pushes us to completely reconsider these two leaders as well as the era they came to define.”

Below are resources for teaching outside the textbook about the Civil Rights Movement.