“We Needed Both of Them”: The Continuing Relevance of Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr.’s (Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman’s) Radical Interpretations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in Scholarship and Black Protest Thought

  • Stephen C. Finley
Part of the Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice book series (BRWT)


The Reverend Albert B. Cleage Jr. (Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman) was one of the first Black religious leaders (perhaps the first) to offer an interpretation of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in relation to one another, as complementary, rather than as oppositional, which was the prevailing metanarrative of his day. Through a textual analytical approach to primary literature on the subject, this chapter argues that—guided by a form of pragmatic realism—Cleage’s iconoclastic approach to Black religious, theological, and intellectual thought sought to destroy “myths” about these two eminent figures, and in so doing, he was able to offer the world a radical interpretation of Martin and Malcolm that has remained relevant and far-reaching in contemporary African American thought.


Black People African American Youth White People White Supremacy Radical Interpretation 
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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen C. Finley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Religious StudiesLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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