I can definitely see why Nothing But a Man would be Malcolm X’s favorite film. There are many similarities between the civil rights leader Malcolm X and the protagonist in Nothing But a Man, Duff. The film has a strong criticism of Christianity. Duff and Reverend Dawson, Josie’s father, have conflicting values. Duff does not like that Reverend Dawson is waiting for change to happen and taking small victories when the white man decides to give him them. Duff believes that there should be larger victories like integrated schools opposed to just making the schools for Black people better. Duff admits to Reverend Dawson that he is not religious and most likely will not become religious because of his fundamental disagreements with it. Duff’s conversation with the Reverend reminds me of Malcolm X’s conversation with the preacher while he was in jail. Both had issues with what was being taught in church and waiting for white people to fix themselves.
Just like Malcolm X, Duff has a distrust of all white people. Even white people that seem to be nice to him at first, Duff does not speak more than a few words to them. This hesitancy to talk and be friendly to white people is shown to be valid when he is working at the gas station and the white man that he helped get out of the ditch, comes back with his friends to harass him. The white man didn’t like that Duff was not being overly friendly to him so sure enough, he started to racially harass him. Duff’s distrust of white people is very similar to Malcolm X’s belief that all white people are the devil that he learns in jail. It makes sense that Malcolm X would like the film Nothing But a Man, because there are so many similarities between himself and the main character.
Here is a side by side of the civil rights hero Malcolm X and the charactor Duff, from his favorite film Nothing But a Man