Malcolm X at the Oxford Union

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4 Scopus citations


This article examines Malcolm X's affirmation at the Oxford Union of the proposition put forward by US Senator Barry Goldwater at the Republican National Convention in 1964: 'Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.' At Oxford, black nationalism, American conservatism and liberal conceptualisations of rights were all on display, as Malcolm X explored new potentialities in American and black political thought. The paper seeks to uncover some of the less explored dimensions of this moment of transition in US and UK racial politics, even as Malcolm extended his arguments into the broader context of decolonisation in Africa and the extension of rights to Africans and other marginalised groups throughout the world. With the 1964 elections in the US and UK serving as background, the author seeks to illuminate the ways in which the rhetoric and theories implicit in the debate represented both atavistic and new arguments for reconciling the impulse for both racial and civic recognition in modern society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-38
Number of pages15
JournalRace and Class
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


  • Barry goldwater
  • Black nationalism
  • Humphry berkeley
  • Malcolm X
  • Nation of islam
  • Oxford union
  • Tariq ali


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