Interview with John Lewis

Well I know that you were very active in the South, and of course, you were a Southerner. You'd been in Freedom Rides, you'd been at lunch counters, ah, had the beloved community and the whole SNCC philosophy of nonviolence. As a Southerner with that kind of background, what did Malcolm X mean or represent to you.


Malcolm X represented, ah, a different brand of leadership. Many of us that grew up in the South, had been deeply influenced by the Church, by the preaching of Black ministers, but also by the message, the philosophy, the teaching of Martin Luther King, Jr. The philosophy and the discipline of nonviolence. Ah, we saw Malcolm as someone in a sense, from the outside, ah, coming from the North, ah, to tell us that there was a different way, a different approach. And I think many of us in the South, had some reservations about it**, because we kept preaching the idea of interracial democracy, the beloved community, an open society.