The Great Or Else


Malcolm X was the great “Or Else” of the entire Civil Rights era. He was the lever and propulsion system behind every concession the civil rights leaders were able to extract from Washington DC’s decision makers. He was the spectre the civil rights leaders repeatedly evoked in order to prise concessions from Capitol Hill. Every negotiating strategy of the civil rights leaders was built on this binary predicate: either give Black Americans their just due or you will have Malcolm and his ilk to deal with. Put simply, Malcolm was their entire bargaining hand. It is therefore he, and not Martin Luther King, that was the pivot and driving force behind every signal legislative and societal achievement of the civil rights period.