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Tom Peebles

Articles by Tom Peebles

When Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X met

11 days ago

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“Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Waiting for Press Conference” March 26, 1964. Library of Congress, via Creative Commons (Public Domain)

Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X met only once, a chance encounter at the US Capitol on March 26, 1964. The two men were at the Capitol to listen to a debate over what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a measure that banned discrimination in employment, mandated equal access to most public facilities, and had the potential to be the most consequential piece of federal legislation on behalf of equality for African Americans since the Reconstruction era nearly a century earlier.

There wasn’t much substance to their meeting. “Well, Malcolm, good to see

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Can democracy work?

March 19, 2021

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André Devambez, Barricade, The Paris Commune, May 1871 via Wikimedia Commons  (Public domain)
Did American democracy survive the presidency of Donald Trump? The question seems sure to occupy historians, commentators and the public during the administration of Joe Biden and beyond. If nothing else, the Trump presidency and its aftermath highlight the need to dig deeply into the very idea of democracy and its history, theory, practice, and limitations. In short: can democracy work?

This is the title of James Miller’s Can Democracy Work: A Short History of a Radical Idea, From Ancient Athens to Our World. It could also be the title of William Davies’ Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason. The two works, both written

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