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One Night in Miami Discussion Questions

  • Quote that Resonated with me: “Some white folks just cannot wait to pat themselves on the back for not being cruel to us. Like we should be singing hosannas just because they found the kindness in their hearts to almost treat us like human beings. Do you expect a dog to give you a medal for not kicking it that day? I hate those mother fuckers more than the rednecks who just put it all out there. And I’ll be damned if I ever forget what they think of me.” What are our thoughts on this?

  • Let's compare the version of Malcom X that you grew up hearing about vs his portrayal in this film. Let's also discuss some facts about him the movie doesn’t fully show and our thoughts on these facts:

  • Malcolm X converted to the nation of islam while in prison. After converting he was one of the biggest recruiters for the group, and he regularly preached on the inherent evil of white people. Let’s discuss this in relation to Kendi’s idea about racism against white people.

  • In 1963 there were deep tensions between Malcolm and Elijah Muhammad over the political direction of the Nation. Malcolm urged that the Nation become more active in the widespread civil rights protests instead of just being a critic on the sidelines. He ended up rejecting the teaching that white people were devils and instead committed to the belief that racism was to blame, not white people. He claimed the nation of islam took advantage of him and used him, and he was “foolish” to have followed the religion. Why don’t we learn this about Malcolm X in school?

  • Is Sam Cooke an assimilationist? Why or why not?

  • Sam thinks white people will eventually begin accepting black people and if black people can achieve economic freedom, social freedom will follow. Malcolm X believes that white people will never see black people as equals and calls for more radical, even violent, action. Who do you agree with more?

  • Malcolm X makes a statement in the movie about there not being any room for bystanders, and that the current situation is too dire not to choose sides. Do you agree?

  • Sam Cooke paved the way for black success in the music industry. However, many career fields remain closed to black people today. Why do we think careers dealing with entertainment (music, sports) are often open to black people but others are not?

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