Review of James H. Cone's Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or A Nightmare

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Review of James H. Cone's Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or A Nightmare Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare written by James H. Cone is a book that takes an in depth look at Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, their ties to each other and what they meant to American society. Before the reader can understand why Martin and Malcolm developed such varying views on civil rights, he first discusses the details of the social and economic lifestyles that each man was raised. Cone explains that through their personal backgrounds, Martin's stable familial and financial security where he was protected from racism as opposed to Malcolm, whose family was broken and economically deprived,…show more content…
Cone explains that these were ideas that Malcolm could believe in because of his experiences. Malcolm's strong convictions in his faith, Cone assesses, is what would lead to the beliefs that Malcolm would become known for such as, "By any means necessary", anti-integration, and his belief that God only helps those who help themselves. Cone progresses in the book to explain what these two leader's religious beliefs and varying theories began to shape the African-American's view on which way freedom could be best achieved in the 1960's. Cone's last analysis of these two men is of the strengths and weaknesses in each man's philosophy and the effects they had on society then and now. Cone concludes that the different social and economic backgrounds are what led these two men to practice their respective religions. The author then argues that their religions are what would lead them to develop their very different philosophies on American and how freedom for African-Americans could best be achieved. Throughout the book, Cone's major premise is that both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X's philosophies were shaped by their personal backgrounds and religious backgrounds. To prove his point, Cone delves back into both men's early beginnings so that the reader can understand why one

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