In 1961 Malcolm joined 27 other Episcopal priests, black and white, to engage in a Freedom Ride commencing in New Orleans. This led to many other civil rights actions that were protests against segregation and apartheid. In the same year Malcolm was called to be Episcopal Chaplain at Wayne State University in Detroit. In 1964 he engaged in a tour of black communities in eight towns in Mississippi,two in eastern Arkansas and four in Alabama. Violence was always present, overt or lurking just beneath the surface. During the summer of 1965 Malcolm worked on voter registration in Mississippi and Alabama with four young black men who belonged to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. One had been sentenced to a chain gang for a civil rights offense. Later in that summer Malcolm went to Los Angeles when the Watts revolt occurred and to Keene, New Hampshire, for the funeral of his young friend Jonathan Daniels, a white seminary student who was murdered in Alabama on Friday, August 20.
Malcolm moved from Detroit to Washington, D.C. to serve as assistant to a black priest in the Church of the Atonement. He also acted as a field director for the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity. In 1965 his book of prayers, “Are You Running with Me, Jesus?” was published. At the time no one knew it would become a runaway national bestseller with one million copies in print and translation into a number of different languages. Malcolm gave many public readings from the book accompanied by musicians including Oscar Brown, Jr., Vince Guaraldi and guitarist Charlie Byrd. (Columbia Records issued two albums of Boyd and Byrd working together). In l966 Malcolm found himself in a major media event when he read his prayers (and engaged in a dialogue with audiences on faith issues) in the famed San Francisco nightclub the hungry i. Dick Gregory headlined the bill and it ran for a full month. The New York Times Magazine printed this observation: “Malcolm Boyd is a latter-day Luther or a more worldly Wesley, trying to move religion out of ‘ghettoized’ churches into the streets where people are.”
On February 6, 1968, Malcolm was with Martin Luther King, Jr., for the last time in a nonviolent protest against the Vietnam war. They had gathered in Washington, D.C. in response to a call from Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. All stood together inside Arlington Cemetery, directly below the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.