Dreams and Nightmares
Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and the Struggle for Black Equality in America

Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson

Foreword by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
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"This book is more than a must-read; it is an essential read if one is interested in a multidimensional view of two icons in American History."--Brenda R. Simmons, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

"Waldschmidt-Nelson has written a myth-shattering account of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X that, without diminishing their differences, illuminates surprising similarities. Teachers will find this book useful in informing students how the struggle against white supremacy powerfully transformed the lives of its participants and the nation."--Steven Lawson, Rutgers University

One man dreamed of a country united in true racial equality. Another saw this as a nightmare that served only the interest of wealthy whites. Both were sons of Baptist ministers. Both grew up to be icons of the civil rights movement.

Integration versus separatism. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X have come to symbolize the two primary strands of black political thought during the civil rights movement, much as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois had more than a half-century earlier. As Henry Louis Gates Jr. points out in his foreword, the parallels and divergences between the two men remain striking.

Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson compares and contrasts these two giants in her fascinating dual biography. She offers a concise account of their lives, accomplishments, and challenges. In a crisp, fascinating narrative, she reveals the interconnectedness of their goals, their visions, and their legacies. Most provocative, she suggests what might have been, as their philosophies began to converge, were it not for a pair of assassins' bullets.

Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson is associate professor of American history and culture at the University of Munich in Germany.

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"This engaging comparative biography contrasts the lives, politics, and philosophies of the two major figure of the American civil rights era, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X. Explores the complex synthesis of the effects of their differing tactics and philosophies on the subsequent movement."
--Book News, Inc.

"Concise and informative." … "Recommended."

"While highlighting their different politico-religious perspectives, social visions, and styles of leadership Waldschmidt-Nelson reminds us that these leaders learned from and influenced each other and that they can only be understood in relation to one another" "The prose is lively and exciting, and the content is clear."
--Journal of Southern History

"A highly readable account of the lives of two of the most dynamic figures in the civil rights movement."
--The Historian

"A thoughful, nuanced, well-researched work of great value."
--Journal of American History

“Well written, concise, smartly organized, and highly readable.”
--The Journal of African American History

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