Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Malcolm X at Dartmouth

Malcolm X at Dartmouth, January 26, 1965On January 26, 1965, Malcolm X visited campus at the invitation of the Undergraduate Council to offer Dartmouth students an alternative viewpoint to Martin Luther King, Jr. and James Farmer, both of whom had visited campus in the recent past. As you might expect, Malcolm X stirred up controversy with his lecture in Spaulding Auditorium and extended interview on the campus radio station, WDCR.

The D reported that Malcolm X promised "A Long, Bloody Summer," and a series of editorials and letters to the editor alternated expressions of fear, hostility and admiration. The D editorial board was unimpressed. They defended his right to speak on campus, but criticized his views: "His arguments were often irrational and his solutions, based on the ends to be achieved, often ignored the implications of the means to accomplish the ends."

Richard Joseph '65 offered a rebuttal to the editorial board under the disclaimer "THIS COLUMN DOES NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT OR REFLECT THE POLICIES OF THIS PAPER" and letters to the editor supported Malcolm X. Just a few weeks later, Malcolm X was murdered. Dartmouth students, so recently debating his ideas, had to confront Malcolm X's life, death, and ideas on a personal level.

Come in and read the whole story in the D on our open reference shelves. To read the transcript of the WDCR interview, ask for the Malcolm X vertical file.

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