What if Dr. King, Malcolm X met?
February 12, 2010

What if Dr. King, Malcolm X met?

If the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X met, what would they have said to each other?

This was the undertaking of Jeff Stetson, playwright for ‘The Meeting’, a one-act production of a fictitious meeting between two of the most influential men of their time.#{{more}}

And Vincentians got the opportunity to witness the thought provoking production last Saturday, as the Paul Robeson Brooklyn Theater brought the action to life on February 6 at the Peace Memorial Hall.

The Meeting imagines Malcolm X, one week before he was killed at Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom in 1965, as he reaches out to King, who utilized very different strategies to fight injustice.

The action takes place in Harlem’s renowned Hotel Theresa, where Malcolm X has chosen to stay with his bodyguard Rashad, rather than subject friends to the risk of having him in their homes as his own house was recently firebombed and his wife Betty and their children barely escaped unharmed.

The visit is structured around three arm-wrestling matches between the two leaders.

Malcolm wins the first round as he contrasts King’s Southern college-educated, Baptist-preacher background with his own Northern, self-educated urban orientation.

He derides King’s tactics of adopting a nonviolent approach.

Dr. King wins the second round by demonstrating that his anger at injustice is just as powerful as Malcolm X’s.

The third round ends in a draw as the two men begin to understand each other, to respect and admire their differing stances, and to accept the possibility of martyrdom for the cause.

Cultural Officer with the Ministry of Culture Anthony Theobalds said it was a last minute decision to bring the play to the Vincentian audience from Barbados where the Theater was scheduled to perform.

Joseph Schaller, Deputy Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, said that the decision to bring the group to the region was in keeping with activities scheduled for the month of February, Black History Month.