Possibly the most adept and appropriate scholar for the job, James Cone succinctly retraces the upbringings, influences, challenges, changes, weaknesses, and legacies of two of America’s most important human rights thinkers and leaders of the 20th century: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Despite the populist’s perspective, one that I previously held, Martin and Malcolm are not polar opposites meant to be pitted against each other. Rather, Cone adamantly argues that they are complements, not categorical rivals. This knowledge and much more in this work shed the idealized, fantasized, or demonized husks of each figure. Neither of them was a black messiah nor an American antichrist, but both were extraordinary prophetic human beings–human beings, nonetheless.
Cone is a beautiful yet poignant writer. This work is carefully done and should be joyfully read.