The Not Even Past Conversations Series was born out of the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. It takes the form of a long interview held informally (usually at home) over Zoom with leading scholars and teachers at the University of Texas at Austin and beyond. The first in the series is a conversation with Dr Peniel Joseph. Dr Joseph holds a joint professorship appointment at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the History Department in the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also the founding director of the LBJ School’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy. Dr Joseph’s career focus has been on “Black Power Studies,” which encompasses interdisciplinary fields such as Africana studies, law and society, women’s and ethnic studies, and political science. In this conversation, he discusses his new book, The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. This dual biography of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King upends longstanding preconceptions to transform our understanding of the twentieth century’s most iconic African American leaders.