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Review of Stephen Tuck, The Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union: A Transatlantic Story of Antiracist Protest (Oakland: University of California Press, 2014)
Labour/Le Travail (2015)
  • Daniel McNeil, Carleton University
Abstract
Readers should not take the title of Stephen Tuck’s new book too literally. The Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union is not a microhistory of the evening of December 3, 1964, when Malcolm X graced the British institution to debate the notion, “Extremism in defence of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of vice is no virtue.” Nor is it a Rashomon-like tale that compares different recollections of the debate that X and the Scottish nationalist Hugh MacDiarmid lost to the liberal Conservative MP Humphry Berkeley and the Labour peer Lord Stoneham by 228 votes to 137. It is more similar in tone and content to articles in the (neo)liberal media that have marked the anniversary of X’s speech and assassination by asking pundits and historians to provide pithy accounts of race relations in Britain and the United States during the past fifty years. As a result, the book serves as an instructive tale for anyone who wishes to translate historical articles to a broader public; communicate radical campaigns for human rights in the 1960s to contemporary audiences consumed by social media activism and the clichés of journalists and public relations agencies; and speak to audiences in the US and UK that are not only divided by a common language but different understandings of race and racialization.
Keywords
  • Malcolm X
Publication Date
2015
Citation Information
Daniel McNeil. "Review of Stephen Tuck, The Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union: A Transatlantic Story of Antiracist Protest (Oakland: University of California Press, 2014)" Labour/Le Travail Vol. 76 Iss. 2 (2015)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/danielmcneil/16/