African-Americans: Racism, Stereotypes And Inequality
He would go ahead to wind up a standout amongst the most influential political figures of the twentieth century. We hear Malcolm X in his words talking in 1964 a large portion of a year prior to his death conveying his celebrated around the world discourse, “By Any Means Necessary.”
Malcolm x Likewise the pivotal figure of the social equality development of the 1960’s. As many commitments with African American possibility Furthermore, historical backdrop brings made due those test about chance concerning illustration he proceeds to motivate youngsters. For many, he stays an image about dark pride. Likewise a dark Nationalist, he battled those generalizations of “the quiet Negro,” asking during the table for as much rights, Furthermore didn’t deny roughness as an instrument for the social transform. Malcolm x preached transformation “By Any Means Necessary” the creator employments the allegory “the sharpened steel of the sword” should depict as much subject’s part in the social liberties development.
One of the first things that the free African countries did was to shape an association called the Organization of African Unity. The reason for the Organization of Afro-American Unity, which has the same point and goal to battle whoever gets in our way, to realize the complete autonomy of individuals of African drop first in the US and in the Western Hemisphere, and achieve the flexibility of such persons by any methods essential.
- 1 Which is the in-group?
- 2 The stereotype of the group
- 3 How members of the in-group conspire to subordinate the out-group
- 4 The media and discrimination
Which is the in-group?
The Organization of Afro-American Unity might incorporate all individuals of African drop in the Western Hemisphere. Fundamentally what it is stating, rather than you and me circling here looking for associates in our battle for opportunity in the Irish neighborhood or the Jewish neighborhood or the Italian neighborhood, we have to look for a few partners among individuals who look something as we do. What’s more, once we get their partners. It’s an opportunity now for you and me to quit fleeing from the wolf directly into the fox’s arms, searching for some assistance.
The motivation behind our association is to begin right here in Harlem, which has the biggest convergence of individuals of African plunge that exists any place on this Earth. There are more Africans here in Harlem than exist in any city on the African mainland.
The United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights are the standards in which we accept, and that these reports, if put into practice, speak to the embodiment of humankind’s trusts and high aims; covetous that all Afro-American individuals and associations ought to consequently unite so that the welfare and prosperity of our kin will be guaranteed; we are made plans to strengthen the regular obligation of reason between our kin by submerging the greater part of our disparities and setting up nonsectarian, helpful projects for human rights; we thusly show this sanction.
Something like that the reason for the association of Afro-American solidarity will be will unite Everybody in the Western half of the globe of African plunge under one united power. Furthermore then, once we would unite “around ourselves in the Western Hemisphere, we will unite with our brothers on the motherland, on the landmass for Africa. So should get straight for it, I might want on peruse you those “Basic plans and destinations of the Association for Afro-American Unity;” began here to New York, June 1964.
The stereotype of the group
Only ten years back on the African mainland, our kin was colonized. They were enduring all types of colonization, persecution, misuse, debasement, embarrassment, separation, and each other sort of activity. Also, in a brief timeframe, they have increased more freedom, more acknowledgment, more regard as people than you and I have. Also, you and I live in a nation which should be the bastion of instruction, opportunity, equity, majority rule government, and those other sounding words.
The association between Afro-American solidarity ought to incorporate every one individual from claiming African plunge in the Western Hemisphere, and also our brothers Also sisters on the African mainland. Which implies Any person from claiming African descent, with African blood, camwood get An part of the association for Afro-American Unity, and also whatever a standout amongst our brothers and sisters from those African landmass. As a result not best it may be an association from claiming Afro-American solidarity implying that we would attempt to unite our people in the West, However its an association from claiming Afro-American solidarity in the feeling that we need to join everyone about our kin who need aid On North America, South America, Furthermore focal America with our individuals on the African landmass. We must join together so as to try ahead together. Africa won’t work forward At whatever quicker over we will and we won’t try forward At whatever quicker over Africa will. We need one fate Furthermore we’ve needed you quit offering on that one secret word.
How members of the in-group conspire to subordinate the out-group
Since self-safeguarding is the first law of nature, we affirm the Afro-American’s entitlement to self-preservation. The Constitution of the United States of America unmistakably asserts the privilege of each American resident to carry weapons. Furthermore, as Americans, we won’t surrender a solitary right ensured under the Constitution. The historical backdrop of unpunished roughness against our kin unmistakably demonstrates that we must be arranged to guard ourselves, or we will keep on being unprotected individuals helpless before a merciless and fierce, bigot crowd.
The association is clinched alongside the individuals ranges the place the administration may be Possibly unabated or unwilling on protecting those Also exists property from claiming our people, that our kin need aid inside our privileges should ensure themselves Eventually Tom’s perusing whatever methods important. ”I repeat, in light to me this may be the greater part significant thing you requirement with think. I recognize it. “We attest that clinched alongside the individuals zones the place the administration may be whichever unabated or unwilling to ensure those exists What’s more property for our people, that our kin would inside our privileges with protecting themselves by whatever methods important. We must establish everywhere throughout those country schools of our own will prepare our identity or Youngsters with turned into scientists, with turned into mathematicians. We must figure it out those need to grown-up training and for employment retraining projects that will accentuate An evolving pop culture clinched alongside which mechanization assumes those magic part. We proposed to utilize the devices for instruction should help raise our individuals to a phenomenal level from claiming incredibleness furthermore self-regard through their exertions.
The media and discrimination
Mass media assume a critical part previously, an advanced world, toward television data done quick pace and providing for stimulation to limitless gatherings of people. They comprise about press, television, radio, books and the web. Those last will be notwithstanding those mossy cup oak Creating medium. However, television likewise needs a total field of impact. By making a distinct kind of the message, networking might control people’s state of mind and suppositions. I might want on concentrate on this issue Eventually Tom’s perusing investigating commercials structure; I will likewise endeavor with define sexual orientation stereotypes, which are utilized within promoting Similarly as An influence technique.
Mass media have played and will keep on assuming an essential part in the way white Americans see African-Americans. As a staggering’s consequence media concentrate on wrongdoing, medication utilization, posse roughness, and different types of against social conduct among African-Americans, the media have encouraged a twisted and vindictive open impression of African-Americans.
The historical backdrop of African-Americans is a centuries-old battle against mistreatment and segregation. The media have assumed a vital part in propagating the impacts of this recorded persecution and in adding to African-Americans’ proceeding with status as peons. Thus, white America has experienced a profound vulnerability as to who African-Americans truly may be. In spite of this racial separation, something undeniably American about African-Americans has raised questions about the white man’s worth framework. For sure, it has likewise excited the alarming suspicion that whatever else the genuine American is, he is additionally some way or another dark.
Civil Disobedience Through the Eyes of Non-Violent Protests
To what extent has civil disobedience been morally justified through non-violent protests? In the past, sit-ins have been used as a form of peaceful protest to raise awareness about injustice. Because sit-ins are a form of indirect disobedience, they are a key social change that I argue should be used to build power and effect change. Civil disobedience in some cases can overlap with other forms of dissent.
In that way, non-violent resistance is the best strategy that can be used to advocate for social justice. Symbolic protests, like sit-ins, can be justified in being an effective form of non-violent protest. Non-violence resistance is the practice of achieving goals through symbolic protests, civil disobedience or other methods, while being nonviolent. Movements have pragmatically adopted methods on nonviolent action as an effective way to achieve social/political goals. Some of the most effective types of nonviolent resistance include public speeches, marches, boycotts and sit-ins. These types of methods can be the most effective if they are peaceful, advertise precisely/correctly, are united as a group of protestors and at the end know how they are going to resolve the issue. Following these simple steps, leads to successful movements with a true purpose in hand. An example of an effective form of protest includes sit-ins, discussed in Sascha Cohens article, Why the Woolworths Sit-In Worked. Sit-ins were great strategies used that were precursors to todays social justice activism, particularly the #blacklivesmatter call to action against police brutality (Cohen 177).
In this way, this grassroots movement (sit-ins) was a nonviolent strategy of civil disobedience that lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act, ending racial segregation. Sit-ins were effective in demonstrating that nonviolent direct action could be successful. I know sit-ins created a path for future stand-ins, ride-ins, wade-ins, etc. This is why movements like these can build power dramatically and create change within the blink of an eye. Steps to help describe a nonviolence protest, provided by Martin Luther King Jrs article, Letter from a Birmingham Jail included fact-finding, negotiation, self-purification and direct action (King 150). Fact-finding includes identifying the injustices, and telling the difference between a just and an unjust law and its alignment with moral laws. The negotiation stage is essential because its peaceful goals for political change can sometimes only be achieved after action. Meaning that negotiations must be two-sided, with both sides having equal power and good faith. The self-purification step entails questioning a persons own moral strength and lastly, nonviolent direct action fosters tension, which in turn fosters the need for negotiation. With these steps being implemented, people were able to enforce nonviolence to promote their organizations and campaigns, like sit-ins.
Following these steps allows for a successful and effective nonviolent social change. I also believe that nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people, taking a step forward for a call to action. Nonviolence in the end defeats injustices meaning the entire world learns to embrace justices. I believe sit-ins were effective because in some way they followed these four steps. Sit-ins evolved around an unjust law, where minorities were enslaved by the majorities (segregation), it included a respectable negotiation of peaceful sitting, it was self-purified because the ones who started the movement were able to mobilize people to participate as the movement later progressed, and lastly there was tension/direct action among the white supremacists. Because of how MLK viewed nonviolence, he believed nonviolent resistance is the most powerful weapon that oppressed people can use in breaking loose from the bondage of oppression (King Interview 2:50). This being said, the oppressed people were those who had no freedom.
Through the nonviolent protests mentioned in his interview, MLK strongly believed that nonviolence was the strongest approach to regime from the system. Like MLK, I think nonviolent resistance is the most powerful because nonviolent resistance presents fewer obstacles to moral and physical involvement and commitment. Successful nonviolent resistance is more durable and overall peaceful.Another key symbolic protest that can be effective includes boycotts. Martin Luther King Jrs activism, motivated by religious convictions and his commitment to equality and justice, led to protests like the Montgomery bus boycott. Boycotts were used as a strategy for addressing racial inequality stressing the importance of economic opportunities in black communities (Cohen 176). In my opinion, MLKs activism could be morally seen as civil disobedience because he used principles of nonviolent resistance to take action on his beliefs. Although boycotts now are different than they were during the civil rights movement, I believe those boycotts were effective because many people we able to participate, knowing they would create an effect on others. The economic Montgomery bus boycott was effective in making bus companies realize they were losing more than half of their income without African Americans being able to use buses as transportation.
This protest was successful because it ended with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that segregation on public buses was unconstitutional. Although I withstand my position of following non-violent movements like sit-ins, I know there are times in which people dissent with violence. Malcolm X was a black influential leader, who wanted to achieve true independence and equality of black power. He was apart of the Nation of Islam, and formed the Organization of Afro-American Unity as discussed in his speech at the Founding Rally of the Organization of Afro-American Unity. Malcolm Xs organization was divided into categories including establishment, self-defense, education and social. In Malcolm Xs category of social in the Afro-American Unity Organization, he stated that, Anytime we know that an unjust condition exists and it is illegal and unjust, we will strike it by any means necessary (Malcolm X 162). Malcolm X felt that black citizens were entitled to secure their rights by any means necessary including the use of violence.
Although MLK and Cohen implemented nonviolence resistance, by any means necessary can be used with non-violent protests because people can have a successful outcome by any means necessary if and only if it includes non-violent strategies. I feel that civilians are entitled to take responsibility for their actions, whether that includes performing an act of violence or non-violence. Malcolm X does in fact consider non-violent methods because they are the only successful methods. He believes that people should be nonviolent, with those who are nonviolent with them (Malcolm X 160). Like Malcolm, I can somewhat agree with what he is saying. I think people should always try to perform acts with non-violence to keep problems as peaceful as possible, but I do understand Malcolms point of view in people being violent for the wrong purposes. If someone is being violent towards you, you are going to be violent towards him or her also because you are going to want to defend yourself. Although this can be true, nonviolent resistance will always present fewer obstacles, making non-violent methods easier to use, to moral and physical involvement.
With higher participation, more opportunities are created for innovation and civil disruption. In conclusion, non-violent forms of protests are the most successful and have the greater outcome. Civil disobedience involves the refusal to obey laws that are immoral or unjust. With civil disobedience being justified through non-violent forms of protests, it can be the best method used to create a successful protest. Nonviolence is the best strategy because it includes being peaceful and un-destructive, contributing to its effectiveness. As the world progresses, of course there will continue to be protests, but to be honest the best method applied should be non-violence because it is the most effective. Violence by protestors can undermine the public support; therefore civil disobedience can be used to achieve almost impossible goals.
Civil Disobedience in Todays World
The definition of civil disobedience given in class was that it is a public, non-violent and conscientious breach of law that attempts to bring about a change in laws. According to this definition, there are a few characteristics that define if an act or protest is considered to be following civil disobedience or not. The act must be conscientious, it must be public, and it must be non-violent. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are the two thinkers I chose to compare in how each one viewed and executed civil disobedience.
Civil disobedience requires conscientious because the protesters are willingly breaking the law. Usually, protesters are choosing to participate because it is a law that they believe should be amended or completely thrown out. When participating, you are showing support for what you believe is right. Engaging in such acts of civil disobedience entails that the person is accepting the fact that there can be legal consequences against them.Civil disobedience requires publicity in the sense that the protest takes place in a public setting, not in a secretive location. Sometimes legal authorities are even notified in advance of a protest. Being open and public about the protests demonstrates the participants compliance to working fairly with legal authorities, as well as showing that the respect the law enforcement officers.
However, the open publicity can also hurt a protest, as it gives law enforcement a chance to prevent it, or for the public to prepare to stop it or fight against it as well. Though the protest must be held in the public eye in order to be considered a form of civil disobedience, it does not require giving law enforcements a warning in advance.Civil disobedience should be non-violent in such a way to reduce the negative effects of breaking the law. Non-violent protests provide an excuse for others to rebuttal with non-violence as well. This minimizes the risk of people getting hurt during the protest. It can also make law enforcement hesitant to use violence to stop the protest, again, making it safer for participants.Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were both civil rights activists who wanted justice and equal rights for African Americans. The difference was how they believed it should be done. Martin Luther King exercised civil disobedience with peaceful and non-violent protests, while Malcolm X believed in doing whatever it takes, even if that involved violence.Martin Luther King believed violence was not the answer. He based his protests off of non-violent acts to make powerful statements.
Many people acted violently back at him, but he did not retaliate with any aggressive actions. He thought that reacting back with the same violence would lead to even more violence, just fueling the fire. Instead, Martin Luther King made strategic, peaceful plans, such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, to show his emotions towards things he considered unfair and wanted to have changed. To Martin Luther King, civil disobedience meant just what the definition stated at the beginning of this paper said. He protested publicly, non-violently, and conscientiously, trying to bring attention to the matters he knew to be unjustified and morally unacceptable. His goal was for white people and black people to live in integration with equal rights. He wanted to end racism and segregation. Malcolm X, on the other hand, challenged the views of Martin Luther King. He believed in self-defense, and argued that if people tried to fight and beat up either him or any other participants of his protests, that they should fight back. I believe that to Malcolm X, civil disobedience simply meant defending yourself against others and to fight for what you believe is morally right.
Malcolm X believed in separation. To him, there was a difference between segregation and separation. He stated Separation is when you have your own. You control your own economy; you control your own politics; you control your own society; you control you own everything. You have yours and you control yours; we have ours and we control ours (Malcolm X, speech at Michigan State University, 1963). His goal was to end racism and segregation as well, but not by the same methods as Martin Luther King.I think that the concept of civil disobedience has not changed much since back then. Civil disobedience has its set definition, but people still interpret it in whichever way they see fit. Martin Luther King agreed with the non-violent protests, however Malcolm X did not. Both were considered to be breaching the law with their protests, however the methods they used were complete opposite of one another. Today, I think this mentality has continued more than changed. People still exercise their right to protest, and can do so either non-violently or not. The Constitution does state that people have the freedom to peacefully assemble or petition, which goes along with civil disobedience.
However, there will always be people who feel that violence will solve problems, and it will continue to be an issue in todays world of politics. Wolins idea of specialized vocabulary for political science was critiqued for being too vague. People argued that it seemed to be vague deliberately, as to avoid describing the political experience. I think it seems very fitting with the definition of civil disobedience as well. The line between civil disobedience can seem vague, as there are different ways to interpret the definition of it. Overall, I think that in order to see a change in todays world, a more clear sense of the word civil disobedience must be established, as well as defining the concept of it as a whole.
Coming to an Awareness of Language and its Importance to Society
Justice Smith In the article of coming to an awareness of language; Malcolm X discusses a time in his life where he considered himself an unfunctional adult because of his lack of being able to read words and to understand what an article, book, or newspaper was explaining. When Malcom X lacked in reading skills, his irritation grew even more by not being able to express his thoughts because he was also unfunctional in writing in a straight line. He harshly criticized himself for not having the ability to read and write efficiently.
While Malcolm X was in prison, he motivated himself to pick up a dictionary and to learn words, and memorize what each word meant. Eventually Malcolm X would begin to form sentences with words he learned from the dictionary while also improving his writing skills, and to write in a straight line.
Malcolm gained knowledge of places, people, and events from history which helped him expand his critical thinking skills and gain a better perspective of the society and world he lived in. Being able to read and write would also enhance Malcolm X’s perspective on topics he deemed worthy of discussion. When Malcolm X was able to pick up a book, he was finally able to understand what the book was explaining word for word. When Malcolm X read more books in prison, he expressed the feeling of being free, ignoring all the time that had passed while remaining in prison due to burying himself in books; with time passing by, it’s as if time didn’t exist whenever he read a book. Language is a powerful form of communication. Language is where one expresses thoughts, ideas, and feelings to get a person’s point across a discussion or argument. The more a person learns more words, the more a person produces more thoughts. Every time a person learns something new, it changes the brain structure. Every time a person picks up a book or some other reading material; they are at first unaware that just by learning something, can soon lead to learning more things which can change a person’s situation, life or outlook for better or worse.
Whatever a person learns; it can mold a person’s outlook, personality, thought process, and how to perceive society, which can also shape a person’s future for better or worse. Learning a language and how to read can open up new doors of opportunity for many across the world; and Malcolm X took the self interest and opportunity to teach himself to read and write. Many take the opportunity to learn as much as they can, while some don’t bother taking the opportunity at all. My experience of learning a language and communicating with people I have never met, have helped open my eyes on learning about where people come from, what shaped their personality and outlook that helped become who they are. When people learn a language, it helps to communicate with other people that share similar experiences and experience new ones. Everyone on this planet has learned a language from their family to friends in order to learn, speak and communicate with one another. Learning a language is an important ability to have and it can also keep certain practices of cultures alive and refrain from being extinct. Learning a language also teaches people to learn about their family history and how we a people came to be. Language also brings more discovery to new things that have been uncovered and examined to understand how it got there and figuring out it’s origins. That is the power of language and it offers much more than we people realize.
Buscemi, Santi V., and Charlotte Smith. 75 Readings Plus. 10th edition ed., McGraw-Hill, 1994.
Buscemi, Santi V., and Charlotte Smith. Malcolm X: Coming to an Awareness of Language.
Buscemi, Santi V. Selections from: A Reader for College Writers & 75 Readings Plus. 10th edition ed., McGraw-Hill Education Create, 2015.
Who Is Baby Boomer?
Baby boomer is a person who was born between 1946 and 1964. The origin of the name baby boomers is due to the immense number of births that were happening. In the beginning of the boom, 3.4 million infants born in the U.S..
The numbers kept increasing to nearly 4 million infants in between years 1953 and 1964. In the end of 1964, over the course of a 22-year period, about 76.4 million infants were brought into existence. The baby boomers are the 2nd biggest generational group in the history of the U.S. and they will continue to have a significant mark on the U.S..
In the year 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed in the U.S.A. This put an end to being segregated from areas or places based on race, color, religion, and sex. The passing of this law has done so much for all people that they can actually talk and it not turned into some incident or death. I believe this did a lot more for blacks than any race due to the fact that they couldn’t be turned away because of the color of their skin. After years of struggle and setbacks, they could finally attempt to live in peace.
In 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1925. He had lost his father in 1931 as he was murdered by White Supremacists. He became a man that could help stop the deaths of blacks that were being killed. Malcolm was great at his job, he steadily gained followers and he was becoming more and more influential as time went on. Until February 21st 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated by rival Black Muslims while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity (which was founded in 1964) in Washington Heights. He was shot to death and was barely even able to experience the world with the Civil Rights Act in play.
The 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan was beginning. There was a grand total of 93 nations participating. The grand total of participants was 5,151. The number of men was 4,473 and women was 678. Like many Olympics before the men have always been the majority. This was the debut of other events such as sumo wrestling and judo matches. New Olympic records were set in 27 of the 36 events in the track-and-field competition. The end result of this Olympics was the U.S. coming out on top with the most number of gold medals that being 36.
The Winter Olympics of 1980 in Lake Placid for the second time is about to commence. In this Olympics only 37 nations participated and only a little over 1000 contestants. The men were the majority with 840 with the women at only 232. This is the age of television and rising numbers of viewers, that Lake Placid wasn’t prepped entirely for this event. The U.S. ice hockey team defeated the powerful Soviets, and gained the gold. The big winners of the Winter Olympics were the Soviet Union with a total of 10 gold medallions.
To conclude, the sports never cease to fail. The Olympics is such a popular event that everyone watches. It brings many nations and individuals together, to compete and have a good time. The Baby Boomer generation was definitely booming with many insane events taking place. We are now about to move into the next generation and see how the Olympics and other things played out.
Civil Rights Movement Debate
The civil rights movement lasted roughly a decade and was a tremendous struggle that took place for African Americans to receive the same constitutional and legal rights that other Americans already enjoyed. This was a time where many white people truly believed they were a superior race and acted out violently towards African Americans simply due to the color of their skin. A period where black people dealt with discrimination, violence and prejudice against them at an alarming rate.
Something had to be done and justice had to be served which motivated the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X and, James Baldwin were all prominent leaders of the civil right movement, but all had different views, theories and tactics on how the civil rights movement should have been led and won. These three African American intellectuals were fighting for the same cause, the need to improve the status of all African Americans in the United States during a time when Jim Crows Laws existed. MLK was a nonviolent advocate while Malcolm X thought that the use of nonviolent tactics would not work. Baldwin argued that blacks should unite with and convert the oppressor. Each of these arguments will be examined throughout this reading
Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were two of the most respected leaders of the civil rights movement. Each pushed for racial equality and freedom. Both leaders imagined how they wanted the world to be differently, as well as had different approaches on how to lead this crucial movement. One thing they both had in common is that they knew they could not sit around and hope for change. They had to act in order to make the change they wanted to see in the world.
Martin Luther King chose to lead his movement using nonviolent tactics such as sit-ins, protest, marches and grassroot organizing. He wanted to use his words and acts of nonviolent resistance as his power. The religion, education and philosophers he studied, such as Gandhi, all played a huge role in why King decided to take a nonviolent approach to the civil rights movement. MLK was first introduced to the idea of nonviolence in 1944 when he attended Morehouse College and read “Civil Disobedience”. He was completely intrigued by the idea. Martin Luther King said, “Fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system, I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times, this was my first intellectual contact with the theory of nonviolent resistance.”[footnoteRef:1]During his time at Morehouse, he was on a quest to find a way to eliminate social evil. Later down the line King began to immerse himself in the study of Gandhi and was enlightened. Through thorough examination of Ghandi works, King felt that nonviolent resistance would be the only moral way to help oppressed people while they struggled finding freedom. All the time and dedication that MLK put into studying and educating himself on different philosophers ultimately lead to his decision to respond to the civil rights movement with a nonviolent approach. MLK said, “First it must be emphasized that nonviolent resistance is not a method for cowards; it does resist. If one uses this method because he is afraid or merely because he lacks the instrument of violence, he is not truly nonviolent. This is why Gandhi often said that if cowardice is the only alternative to violence, it is better to fight.”[footnoteRef:2] [1: ] King, Martin Luther, Jr. Stride toward freedom (Boston: Beacon Press, 2010) 78.] [2: King, Martin Luther, Jr. Stride toward freedom (Boston: Beacon Press, 2010) 90.]
After examination I feel that King wanted his followers to lead with love and not continue to have hate in their hearts. He believed in nonviolent tactics and knew that it was the only way to be able to make a huge impact and change in the civil right movements. MLK was very aware that being violent in that day and time would only make matters worse and would not bring the right attention that was needed for this critical movement. King took time to carefully indulge himself in the study of great philosophers who made huge impacts in their communities. Which ultimately led to many of his decision.
On the other hand, we have Malcolm X who was also an African American civil rights leader like MLK, but they had complete opposite theories on how the movement should have been led. Malcolm X was known for the phrase “by any means necessary.” Cite Malcolm X was tired of being told to “just be patient” or “mindful” as they wait for equal rights to be granted. Malcolm X wanted equal rights to be granted right away and he didn’t care what he had to do as long as he got it.
I believe in order to understand why Malcolm X did not believe nonviolence tactics would work while MLK was for it, then you must understand each of their upbringings. They were both raised completely different and separate, as well as they both practiced two completely different religions. Martin Luther King was born in Atlanta, Georgia and was the son of a reverend. King grew up deeply religious following the Christian faith. King witnessed innocent black people being “savagely lynched.”[footnoteRef:3]. Martin Luther King was subjected to seeing police brutality right in front of his very own eyes, he has witnessed blacks receive tragically unfair injustice in courts. King having to witness and experience such a harsh reality of life for him and other blacks led to him becoming very close to resenting all people, and rightfully so in my opinion. [3: King, Martin Luther, Jr. Stride toward freedom (Boston: Beacon Press, 2010) 77.
Even though Martin Luther King went through and witnessed a lot of hardships while growing up, so did Malcolm X. Malcolm X lived a life where he had to endure a tremendous amount of hurt at a very young age. When he was six, his father was found murdered on the towns trolley tracks. It is believed that he was killed by white supremacist organization Black Legion. Malcolm X had seven other siblings and his mother was omitted to mental institution a few years after. This led to Malcolm and his seven other siblings to be split up throughout various foster homes and orphanages. During adulthood, Malcolm X became Muslim and joined the Nation of Islam. He then was appointed the national spokesman of the Nation of Islam.
Malcolm X had to grew up in very harsh conditions at a very young age, witnessing traumatic incidents that have stuck with him through adulthood. His outlet on life and white people was not as positive as Martin Luther King. This played a huge part on Malcolm X decisions and stances that he took regarding the civil right movement. This decision differed in many different aspects than the decisions of MLK.
A huge turning point for the civil rights movement was the March on Washington of 1963 or the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. This massive protest in the form of a march took place in order to bring attention to all the inequalities faced by blacks. This march was organized and led by civil rights leaders such as Bayard Rustin, A. Phillip Randolph, and Martin Luther King Jr. This was of course a peaceful march and was where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream speech.” During this speech King said, “I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”[footnoteRef:4]. King had a dream that even the most racist states such as Mississippi “A state sweltering with the heat of injustice… will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.”[footnoteRef:5] [4: King, Jr., Martin Luther. 2017. I Have a Dream Speech (Primary Source Document) August, 1-3] [5: King, Jr., Martin Luther. 2017. I Have a Dream Speech (Primary Source Document) August, 1-3
King wanted to leave a message with the thousands of people who were in attendance that day. A message that even though at the time they were experiencing rather difficult times due to racism he still had a dream of the “American Dream” that all U.S residents should be able to experience no matter their skin tone or upbringing. King made it clear that all men were created equal and he demanded that everyone should be treated as such.
King looked at the civil rights movement as a movement that advocated change for the better in his eyes. Martin Luther King Jr wanted all races to be able to integrate and work together as one. He wanted future generations of African Americans to be able to live a better more comfortable life than he did amongst white people. He didn’t want African Americans to be judged solely off the color of their skin. King wanted blacks to be able to indulge in the American dream that most non-black Americans were offered at the time.
Malcolm X had other plans than Martin Luther King and a different perspective in regard to the march. Throughout time Malcolm X felt that integration would eventually lead to the destruction of the white and black man. He instead thought that African Americans should instead focus on helping each other. Malcolm X said, “Not long ago, the black man in America was fed a dose of another form of the weakening, lulling and deluding effects of so-called integrations. It was the Farce in Washington, I call it”[footnoteRef:6]. Malcolm X disagreed with the March on Washington and felt that is was highly unorganized. He saw that there was no real leader. Unlike King Malcolm X used the word farce when describing this event. Another word for farce is absurd. The fact that he viewed the March on Washington as farce exhibit the debate between himself and leaders such as Martin Luther King who say this march as necessary. [6: X, Malcolm, and Alex Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (New York: Grove Press, 1965) 278 ]
In the above quote Malcolm is referring to the March on Washington and is responding to the “I Have a Dream Speech “by Martin Luther King. Malcolm X also criticized “Any student of how integration can weaken the black man’s movement was about to observe a master lesson.”[footnoteRef:7]. It is safe to say that Malcolm X was not in agreeance with the March on Washington and the leader’s tactics. In fact, he referred to the event as an “Kentucky Derby… for the status-seeker, it was a status symbol. Were you there?”.[footnoteRef:8]Due to the facts that whites were now participating he felt that it was all for show and that the march was suddenly made chic. He states that the march had become an “outing, a picnic”[footnoteRef:9]. Malcolm X did not like the idea of African Americans coming together in unity with the very people who suppressed their ancestors. An exhibit of this is when he stated “While tripping and swaying along arm-in-arm with the very people they were supposed to be angrily revolting against?”[footnoteRef:10]. [7: X, Malcolm, and Alex Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (New York: Grove Press, 1965) 278 ] [8: X, Malcolm, and Alex Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (New York: Grove Press, 1965) 279] [9: X, Malcolm, and Alex Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (New York: Grove Press, 1965) 279] [10: X, Malcolm, and Alex Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (New York: Grove Press, 1965)280]
James Baldwin was an author, activist, and play writer. James Baldwin is well known for his novel “Go Tell It on the Mountain” which showed insight on race, spirituality, and humanity. He was raised by a young single mother and was never told who his biological mother was. Baldwin also served as a youth minister in the church from the age of fourteen to sixteen. James Baldwin realized a love for reading at an early age. Baldwin started to become more prominent in the civil right movement in the early 1960s where he joined Martin Luther King Jr in his marches. James Baldwin’s thoughts on how civil rights should be won and the tactics used were not the same as Kings or Malcolm X. In fact, his ideology was somewhere in the middle of MLK and Malcolm X. Baldwin was able to agree and disagree with some aspects of both MLK and Malcolm X ideology. James Baldwin favored many of the aspects Malcolm X stood for. He knew that he wasn’t going to sit around and wait on the white man. Malcolm X and Baldwin had a lot in common. They were both well-educated African Americans who were determined to shed light on all the injustices that the white man has brought on black people even a century after emancipation. Unlike King, who wanted to integrate with the white man, James Baldwin and X did not find that as a good solution. Baldwin once stated in 1963 “I was icily determined….to die and go to hell before I would let any white man spit on me, before I would accept my place in this republic.[footnoteRef:11]. As shown in the above quote James Baldwin was opposed to letting white people get away with disrespecting blacks and doing absolutely nothing about it. [11: Baldwin, James. The Fire Next Time (New York: Dial Press 1963)]
In September of 1963 James Baldwin and Malcolm X had an intellectual debate during a radio broadcast. During this debate you could see both of their stances on civil rights and how they thought the movement should have been won. The two differed in many ways one being that Baldwin was not religious at all while Malcolm X practiced the Muslim faith. James Baldwin expressed that he wanted to see a world where skin color did not exist. He believed that as long as the color of the skin mattered then there would be bloodshed. While on the other hand Malcolm X made it clear that he was a black a man and was proud to be one. “I have no desire what so ever to lose my identity”. Malcolm X thought it was devasting that blacks where the only people on earth who did not mind losing their identity. Malcolm X did not like the fact the black man is the only man who is constantly encouraged to behave nonviolently while whites are encouraged to fight violently and are praised for it. He also examined how the black race is the only race who is told to forget the past and move forward. Malcolm X wanted blacks to know their history and be aware of where they truly come from. While, James Baldwin believed that blacks have to face the terrible history of blacks in America and recognize that is also a remarkable history and made blacks the people that they are. Baldwin was against eliminating their history.
These two African American intellectuals have two different but equally strong opinions. I agree with Malcolm X and how strongly he feels about blacks needing to be more educated about their African ancestors and heritage. At the time it was extremely hard for blacks to be able to identify themselves and where they came from because the white man had told them lies and hid a lot of information from them. While it is extremely important for blacks to know where they came from I also can understand the stance that Baldwin took. It also makes since to me that Baldwin wanted saw the black or negro history as a remarkable wanted and wanted blacks at the time to understand that.
In 1964 Malcolm X stated in a speech “I don’t see any American dream; I see an American nightmare.”[footnoteRef:12]. This statement made by Malcolm X speaks volume. It is clear on how Martin Luther King and Malcolm X thought differently and had two completely different visions. Martin Luther King wanted to be included in the so-called American dream. While Malcolm X did not picture America as a dream at all. Instead he saw it as a complete nightmare for blacks. Malcolm X elaborated in his speech that he doesn’t even consider himself American. He felt this way because this was a period where many whites (Americans) viewed themselves as superior to blacks and some didn’t even consider them real people. But whites had rights and were treated fairly and were the true Americans. Blacks on the other hand were not granted this luxury, so how could they really be American if they are faced with so many more issues based off the color of their skin that whites (Americans) have to deal with? So instead of Malcolm X viewing himself as an American just because he was born on U.S soil he views himself and the 22 million other blacks in the U.S as “Victims of Americanism”[footnoteRef:13] [12: X, Malcolm. “The Ballot or the Bullet” (Speech, Cleveland, OH, April 3, 1964) Edchange] [13: X, Malcolm. “The Ballot or the Bullet” (Speech, Cleveland, OH, April 3, 1964) Edchange]
Baldwin stood up for the injustices the black community had to bare through every day and even said “There is no reason that black mean should be expected to be more patient, more forbearing, more farseeing than whites; indeed, quite the contrary”[footnoteRef:14]. Paraphrase, while Malcolm and mlk were disagreeing Baldwin took a stanceThe period in which James Baldwin lived in made African Americans fear for their lives around white people. They were expected to act a certain way to white people, and always be respectable no matter what. James Baldwin realized this cruel unfair treatment. Baldwin took a stance and said this not fair and is not how we should continue to live our lives. [14: Baldwin, James. The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction 1948-1985. (New York: St Martins 1986) 35]
James Baldwin differed from Malcolm X because he did not solely agree that separation of the races was the best option. Malcolm X can be viewed as having hate for whites at one period of time and did not want to integrate. While on the other hand, James Baldwin did not have hatred for whites. But he was opposed to the cruel treatment of blacks by whites. Baldwin wanted to inform people that no skin color or religion is more important than the human being. Baldwin once stated that “all men are brothers”[footnoteRef:15]. James Baldwin stood behind love and realized that no matter if you were black or white, unless you accepted love then everyone is lost. He believed that both races had to take the time out to examine the hate many people have harbored, would be the key to solving problems. [15: Baldwin, James. The Price of the Ticket (California; Newsreel 1990)
On March 7, 1965 civil rights nonviolent activist such as Martin Luther King led the Selma to Montgomeregy marches protesting for racial injustices. Yet again this was a peaceful march using the nonviolent tactic. The protestors were fighting for the failed voter registration campaign as well as for the inhumane murder of an unarmed man killed by police named Jimmie Lee Jackson a week prior. These unarmed marchers were brutally attacked by state troppers and other officials with tear gas and billy clubs. This march is also known by the name Bloody Sunday and received media coverage for the world to see. Martin Luther King educated himself and realizaed that resisting and not fighting back when harmed does not mean that someone is being a coward. Instead they should be seen as courageous. One most see the bigger picture on how crucial this tactic was to the civil rights movements. Through media coverage it was shown blacks being brutally beaten and harassed by white officials. They were being harmed just because they were peacefully protesting. This showed to the world what blacks really go through on the daily. They can peaceful and cause no harm but still be humilatted, mocked, and terrozied because of what they look like. This type of humiliating being brought to the world attention caused outgrage and resulted in the civil rights movement receiving way more support from non blacks than was expected.
Finally, all three of these African American intellectuals, are known as heroes of the civil rights movement. These courageous men all witnessed the horrible mistreatment of blacks and were even mistreated themselves by whites. All of these courageous men saw a huge issue and put their best foot forward to make an everlasting change. Even though they all had their own perspectives on how the civil rights movement should have been won, they all left their everlasting mark on this widespread movement which resulted in changing the lives and outcomes of so many African Americans and minorities. The bigger picture at the time for these men were solving many of the injustices that were done to the black community and with the help of thousands of Americans coming together with these leaders, they were able to solve these issues.
Malcolm X Research Paper
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X
The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley.
Malcolm X had a hard life. He struggled with coexitsting with whites all of his life. He had many trials and tribulations during his time which formed his opinions of races and equality between races. He was taught his earlier opinions by his learning experiences and what he experienced growing up. As he got older he developed a different sense of what racism was and began to form his own leadership with many followers. While a great deal of whites thought he was too outspoken and racist imself, he just wanted to show the world through his own experiences what equality is and he hoped to help the nation overcome the boundaries that separated the whites from the blacks. He came to realize at the end of his time that not all whites were racist and that there were many who were set out to accomplish the same goal as he was, equality for all regaurdless of race.
Malcolm X who was born Malcolm Little was raised in a home with his mother and father and siblings. His father was a Babtist inister and was also involved with the UNIA. He was a outspoken man who was proud of his race. His willingness to stand up for his rights as a black man contributed to his murder. Malcolm believes his father had been brainwashed by the whites because he favored Malcolm more than the other children because he was light skinned. His mother felt differently about him. She believed that her grandfather who was a white man had raped her grandmother and she was ashamed of the white blood running through her, she was also light skinned but favored her children who were darker and aught them to be proud of their black heritage, even moreso than her husband. Malcolm and his family were the victims of the Klu Klux Klan, they attacked the Little home because they perceived his father to be a troublemaker because he was so outspoken and involved with the UNIA. After Malcolm was born the family moved in hopes of a better start and the trouble followed them. Their home was set on fire because his father wanted to own his own business and live outside the boundaries set for blacks to live.
The “Black Legionnaires” elt like they were being disrespected and tried to run the family off. The family did move and that move was economically advantageous for the family. Malcolms father built a 4 bedroom home and they were able to grow their own food as well. Malcolms home life was quite unstable, his parents often fought and life was unstable. Social workers were involved with the family and eventually they took the children out of the home and put them in temporary homes. At this point in his life, he had already been witnessed to the cruel and unusual punishment factored y race and he developed strong opinions of his outlook on whites and blacks. He felt like whites treated him as a mascott of sorts and that just because he was black that he was not human. He struggled with stability in his life and his ideas of separatism and inequalities drove him to a lifestyle of crime and troublemaking. His sister tried to help him but to no avail. He got in with the wrong crowd and began hustling to make money. He got involved with dangerous criminals who eventually were out to get him. During his crime spree of robbing he got busted and ound up in jail where he learned of the Muslim religion. During his life he didnt have any real religious backround, even though his dad was a minister, religion was not the focus in the house, the focus was more on militant issues.
Malcolm had deep hatred for whites because of the struggles his family went through with the whites interfering in his life and how they dehumanized his mother growing up. This group offered him the support of people of his own race who felt the same injustices had been done to them. They seemed to understand his truggle and reason for his hatred of white people. The thing Malcolm didnt understand about the group was its nonchalant efforts to unite more people to its cause. He failed to see the group actively engaging in recruitment. He believed the more people of his race on his side would help in the fight to combat the white race into acknowledging the balck race as human beings and that they should have the same rights as whites. It wasnt until he took his first pilgrimage trip, paid for by his sister in hopes of getting him on the right track, that he started to see hat not all white people were racist. He began to see that there were whites that welcomed him and treated him as a human being and had ultimately the same goal as he did. He started to change his focus on not separation but equality to all no matter what the race. He saw that these problems were not just from the US but also worldwide and he began to start groups for such cause.
He wanted the world to hear him and he used his own life experiences as the basis for his findings. He egan to understand that the hatred he had to all whites was unjust and that it wasnt the whites persay but the attitudes and mindsets of whites that he didnt agree with. He found white Muslims who were not racist, who had not been brainwashed into thinking that just because you are black you are inequal. That gave him hope and a newfound look on what he was trying to accomplish. He left the Black Muslim organization and became a Islam follower. He wanted to have a huge following of blacks and create a unity worlwide with blacks unfortunately a lot of blacks did ot understand, were scared, or were already too set in their ways to follow him. He wanted to take the issue up with the united nations to create a global solution to the problem. His outspokenness and perserverance for his cause created the circumstances of his demise. He was going against his previous faiths ways and the Black Muslims didn’t agree with the messages he was preaching about. He was eventually murdered after coming back from France supposedly by the Black Muslim group. Though he may be gone, his message does live on.
Malcolm X and the Civil Rights War
There are some who may argue that immediately after the end of the American Civil War and abolition of slavery, America entered in a new era of modern black slavery. One that did not see the blacks physically restrained in chains, but entangled in an era of segregation, physical and verbal attacks, lynching, and silver tongued political promises of equality. The African American Civil Rights movement has had a long and tumultuous history.
However today only the Civil Right movements of the 1950’s and 60’s are recognized for positive gains which marked history for black citizens. Many Civil Right leaders and activists such as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Walter Francis White, and Ella Baker put an immense amount of work into improving the lives of the African Americans in post Civil War America, yet they take a back seat to figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who is recognized as the public face of the Civil Rights movement.
In the late 1950’s a shift began . For many years the Civil Right leaders and activists sought to work within black communities and with national politicians to pass laws to ensure that the American blacks were given the same opportunities as the white man. This approach, sometimes called the top down approach, promoted the idea that through legislature and federal enforcement the American Negro could eventually achieve the same rights as his white neighbors. However, for every law passed to ensure equality including the Civil Rights Act of 1957, Voting Rights Act, and Brown vs. Board of Education, there was opposition from white citizens.
Segregation and racial oppression began to rise, especially in the south. Anywhere the Civil Rights movement began to gain momentum so did crimes against blacks with majority of those crimes never investigated or prosecuted. Law makers, specially southern Democrats worked actively to make passing any bills to support the Civil Rights Movement difficult. In April 1918, Leonidas Dyer introduced H.R. 11279, an anti-lynching bill based on a draft by Albert E. Pillsbury that called for prosecution of any lynchers and included monetary restitution for the family of the victim from the county in which the crime occured in. The house bill was filibustered by southern Democrats and defeated in the south. As Civil Right leaders pushed for more federal aid, they ignored the white view of the negro social movements. Whites believed negro leadership demanded the white man’s house, the white man’s job, and a seats for their children in the white man’s schools. The white man did not want integration, he wanted segregation. Effectively the Civil Rights era can be summed up as black progress vs. white backlash.
The Civil Rights movement was pushing for government assistance and social changes that improved the lives of black Americans. However, these changes would enslave blacks to the Federal government effectively creating a welfare state. In a report titled The Negro Problem: The Case for National Action; also called the Moynihan Report written by The Assistant Secretary of Labor, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Moynihan argued that there laid a foundation of destructive ghetto culture in the black community that gave rise to the black-single-mother-families which widened the gap between the negro and other American societies. He argued that while blacks were working to achieve civil liberties by encouraging a top down approach in order to help citizens at the bottom, they were not taking care of their own social needs nor were they working toward self improvement measures that would give them better a economic future. According to Moynihan’s report, between 1954 and 1964 more blacks were out of work resulting in higher rates of poverty and lower education which gave rise to crime that affected the black community in a negative way. After publishing of this report, the NAACP condemned and dismissed the report as nothing but racial profiling based on inaccurate information.
What Civil Rights activists and leaders ignored was that in order for the socio-economic status of Blacks to improve, they must first change the social behavior in their own community, effectively improving the black social status from the ground up, not the other way around. The top down approach utilized by the Civil Rights movement would increase the dependency of the black community to the federal government and not lessen it. The need for self reliance was overlooked in lieu of gaining social equality by working with the very people that did not see the black person as equal to himself in the first place.
The inner social problems gripping the black community were not ignored or dismissed by everyone. Malcolm X’s ideology and teaching centered around the idea that social improvements were the only solution that would result in black prosperity. Born Malcolm Little, he suffered multiple family tragedies beginning at a very young age. When he was six years old, his father who was a former supporter of the early black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey, was murdered by members of The Black Legion; a white paramilitary force. Years later his mother became institutionalized after she suffered a major nervous breakdown promoting welfare officials to split and place Malcolm and his siblings into different foster homes. While in junior high, Malcolm dropped out of school because he learned that despite his aptitude for learning, he would not be able to achieve his dreams. One day in classroom he was asked by his english teacher if he thought about what career he wanted to pursue. Malcolm responded by saying that he would like to be a lawyer.
Surprised by the response, his teacher sat Malcolm down and told him Malcolm, one of life’s first needs is for us to be realistic. You’ve got to be realistic about being a nigger, a lawyer- that’s no realistic goal for a nigger. Disheartened, Malcolm decided to drop out of school and started to work and move around the country. Slowly he was initiated into a life of crime and after moving to Boston to live with his half sister, he turned his efforts, anger, and focus in becoming a full-time criminal. He became a drug pusher, pimp and gang leader a perfect example of what the Moynihan Report suggested was happening in the black community. At age 19 he was arrested and convicted of burglary at a series of Boston-area homes. He was sentenced to state prison for six years. While in prison, Malcolm decided to change his life and began to use the prison’s library to educate himself. He learned all he could about slavery and the past, becoming disgusted and horrified by what he learned. Following the example of family members, Malcolm converted from Christianity and joined the Nation of Islam.
He began to correspond with its leader, Elijah Muhammad. The Nation of Islam preached black self-reliance and empowerment and that striked and accord with Malcolm. He began to view the current black situation as nothing but the effects of post civil war modern slavery. He dropped his last name, Little, and instead adopted the letter X which stood for unknown. He believed that all blacks living in America had been given their last names by the slave masters and that not one negro living in America knew his or her true name, only his or her slave name. He also viewed the problems facing the blacks in America as a human problem and not solely a Civil Rights problem.
Malcolm X could not support the strategy of the Civil Rights movement because he identified a paradox in the non-violent Civil Rights movement of Dr. King. Malcolm believed that the Civil Rights movement leaders accepted the status quo. They encouraged no retaliation in face of police brutality, intimidation, murder, and harassment as these events where everyday norm for the black man and woman living in America. He framed his view by stating: any time a shepard, a pastor, teaches you and me not to run from the white man, and at the same time teaches us not to fight the white man, he’s a traitor to you and me. He labeled the Civil Rights leaders, especially Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as nothing but the modern Uncle Tom. Placating their white master while modern slaves were beaten by the police, kept down and forced to live in segregation.
It was during this time that Malcolm X also began to diverge away from the teachings of Elijah Muhammad. He began to realize that Elijah Muhammad had served the status quo more than Dr. King, by keeping Muslims praying in their house of worship and out of voting booth and Civil Rights activity. He urged his black Muslim brothers to no longer let status quo lead their actions. He urged them to get up, fight and take the fight to the agitators. As a black nationalist he believed and encouraged the black Americans to fight racial oppression, segregation and discrimination by any means necessary.
Malcolm X believed that seperation was the only mean to true freedom and prosperity for the African American people and that there was a clear distinction between separation and segregation. During his speech at Michigan State University, he stated that segregation is forced upon inferiors by superiors and a segregated community is a negro community. Malcolm pointed out that even though negroes lived in separate communities, they in fact lived in a segregated community. They lived under white law, white economy, and white politics. Malcolm believed that the only solution was to rise from the bottom and push the through the top. He argued that the philosophy of black nationalism involves a re-education program in the black community in regards to economics and commerce, politics, and law, especially regarding human rights law. There are many who attribute the teachings of both Malcolm X and Dr. King to the Civil Right activity branch of W.E.B DuBois.
Through my research, I now believe that Malcolm’s views on how to address the inner social issues plaguing the black population is more aligned with Booker T. Washington’s ideals that a bottom up approach than with DuBois’ top down approach. Just like Booker T., Malcolm valued education very highly and believed that economic prosperity could only be achieved for the black man, by the black man, within the black man’s community. That prosperity would give the black man power to sit equally at the negotiating table without dependance on the very people that caused him harm in the first place.
Over and over he argued that negros could never have civil rights in America until their human rights were first restored, and argued that we will never be recognized as citizens until we are first recognized as humans. Separation was the road to salvation and for that dream to come true, the black community had to control its economy, politics, laws and enforcement, and overall its own everything. Many who study Malcolm X and his work as a social activist often overlook the fact that he viewed the problems facing the 22 million blacks living in America not as a race problem, but as a human problem. In many of his speeches he argued that the human rights struggle was greater than the civil rights struggle. He believed that the civil rights fight kept black problems under the jurisdiction of the very people enforcing the problem. In a speech sharing his views, Malcolm stated, Civil Rights means you’re asking Uncle Sam to treat you right. Human rights are something you were born with, and they are your God given right. To Malcolm the struggles that blacks faced in America was a war.
A war against the unjust, a war against the oppressor, a war against hypocrisy and human cruelty. During the Ballot or the Bullet speech Malcolm said that he believed when black men take their case to Washington, they are in fact talking to the very criminals responsible for the crime against them in first place. To take your case into any court, to any politician, to anyone representing the very system that is crushing the soul of the black man, would not result in anything better than promises that would be riddled with so many loopholes that the end result would further bind the hands of the black man. Malcolm wanted to take Uncle Sam to court. He wanted to bring the case of the African American struggle before United Nation and the World Court just like atrocities that had been committed in Latin America, Asia, and Africa were previously brought to the World Court. He argued that on the only level that one could do so would fall under the category of human right, because Civil Rights simply means you’re asking the aggressor to treat you right. Later on during his pilgrimage and travel around the world, Malcolm X learned how the world saw America. Traveling throughout the Muslim world Malcolm was confronted over and over with questions about America’s racial discrimination. In his autobiography Malcolm wrote that he was astonished at the degree to which the major single image of America seemed to be discrimination.
Malcolm X was one of the only Civil Right era social activist that understood the problem facing his people. He waged a war against hypocrisy and status quo by empowering his followers to stand up, become responsible for their own prosperity, fight back and never back down. He encouraged followers to defend themselves against the racial bullies and take the fight to them. Throughout history Malcolm X has been labeled and even credited as the leader of the black militant movement. His fiery speeches and belief in absolute separation and retaliation will forever mark him as an agitator. I shared this view before studying Malcolm X’s life and teachings. Malcolm’s violent past shaped who he became. Angry at the unfair world, angry at what he and other African Americans believed was years of broken promises, fed up with the treatment he and other blacks received every single day, and angry with the black leaders who drank tea with the very people who brought so much misery upon them.
However, Malcolm was also a man of principle and great pride. Elijah Muhammad, his teacher and mentor had affairs with seven of his teenage secretaries and fathered eight children with the young women. When Malcolm learned this, he confronted Muhammad requiring him to reveal the truth to his congregation. When faced with any truth, Malcolm adapted, accepted, and acted accordingly. Some think that this was a flaw in Malcolm X’s character and labeled him a flip flopper, however he acted according to his morals and what the truth laid before him. Malcolm’s religion was at the heart of his beliefs and teachings. He believed that for the Blacks in America to prosper, separation and full acceptance of Islam was a must. This belief however was changed when Malcolm went on his pilgrimage to Mecca and visited with the Muslim leaders in Middle East and North Africa.
In a letter to Dr. Shawarbi, Malcolm expressed his wonderment and awe at how all people from all corners of the world seem to be treated as one under Islamic Law. He wrote, There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over he world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans, but we were all participating in the same ritual displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and the non-white. Malcolm further expressed in his letter to Dr. Shawarbi that America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem. As he met with many open-minded muslim leaders he began to change his conviction.
Malcolm began to believe that unification of blacks in America was possible under the Islamic flag. Malcolm believed that the Negro leaders in America must travel to all the non-white lands and meet with educated men and world leaders so that he could return home with more effective thinking and solutions to America’s racial problem. The world saw the Negro in America as confused and divided believing that if he doesn’t himself know what his cause is how can he achieve what he desires? In Malcolm’s view, the Civil Rights War could only be won by empowering the 22 million blacks through political, economical, and social education. To be self-reliant would remove the dependency on white man and his law.
Before his death, Malcolm began to spread his belief that not only blacks, but all Americans should be indoctrinated with Islam and learn from its lessons so that all could live under one nation, effectively eliminating the need for separation.
Civil Rights Movement And Christianity
It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.i This quote from Audre Lorde was from a series of poems written in 1994 entitled Our Dead Behind Us. This quote could be used to describe most African Americans’ mindset a few decades ago when the Civil Rights movement was the most prominent battle going on in the United States.
Even today, about 50 years later, those words ring true about political beliefs between citizens and politicians over ideas such as health care, international relations, or a wall. The Civil Rights movement is often praised as a political event, but what was the religious and spiritual meaning to it as well? This paper will be looking at the Civil Rights movement that happened in the United States during the 50s and 60s, while also looking at the role of Christianity within that movement, for both the African American protesters looking for freedom, and the white oppressors looking to stop them. Also, it will look at other Civil Rights activists like Malcolm X, whose conversion to Sunni Islam also provided a different out look to Civil Rights activists.
The Civil Rights movement began in earnest in the 1950s, although there were actions that occurred prior to that time that focused on civil rights. As early as the late 1890s and early 1900s, African Americans were debating the best way to achieve their rights.ii Should they rise and try to take their rights by force, or should they use a nonviolent tactic and use their words and more polite actions to at least try and get attention to their issue? William James, a great philosopher, once wrote that those who oppose war must create a substitute for war’s disciplinary function and a moral equivalent of war.iii While James was giving his speech and promoting this in New York, another nonviolent believer was putting this into action in another part of the world.
As we have read throughout this course, Mohandas Gandhi was one of the best advocates for nonviolence. First, he opposed a law that required Indians who were in South Africa to register with the government. Beatings and jail time for the Indians commenced, but a peaceful public outcry ensued because of the violence shown by government officials towards nonviolent Indian protesters. This led to a compromise in South Africa and prompted an idea for Gandhi. He returned to his homeland of India with this new strategy of nonviolence and opposed the British colonization of India for the next forty years. Eventually, the Indian people won independence without fighting a bloody war against the British.iv Gandhi’s words and actions laid the foundation for nonviolent action, and his work would be utilized and celebrated in the United States during the Civil Rights movement by many other activists, including the most famous one in the United States.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born in 1929 to a middle-class African-American family in Atlanta, GA. His childhood could only be described as filled with endless amounts of love, and he credited the hope he always spoke about in his public life and speeches to the secure and loving environment he was raised with.v His life, however, was so much like those who lived around him. Segregation wasn’t the problem for King when he was growing up? Rather, it was the oppressive and barbaric acts that grew out of it. Police brutality, legalized prejudice, the terrorism of Ku Klux Klan, and profound economic inequalities were just some of the hurdles he had to overcome early in his life. vi A moment of such horrific treatment came when at the young age of fourteen, King was forced to get up from his bus seat by a white man. Not only was he removed from his seat, but then had to stand for the 90-mile bus ride. King said that “injustice will never leave my memory. It was the angriest I have ever been in my life.vii
Martin Luther King was one of the most prominent and outspoken people from the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955/56 until his murder in 1968. The quote used at the beginning of this was something that King always preached, talking about your differences and the uniqueness they bring to each individual citizen. These differences are not what divides people, but rather people’s inability to accept them as normal and rather look at differences in skin color as a curse rather than a blessing. But King also had a background that was a unique in the fact that he was a preacher and used the churches as gathering places for nonviolent protestors to meet in peace to discuss methods of action. Faith also helped King to preserve in this work through death and bomb threats to not only himself, but to his wife and daughter as well.
So how much does Christianity play a role in instances like this? Probably more than most people realize. Max Stackhouse argues that while “the deep roots of human rights ideals are rooted nowhere else than in the biblical tradition,” these values “remained a minority tradition (within the Church) for centuries.viii What Stackhouse is saying is the idea of all humans having equal opportunity and fair share can be found in biblical faiths and traditions framework. They may not appear to those who look on from the outside, but those within see these ideals through and through. Stackhouse’s ideas were used to explain the Church’s past in my first source.
Charles Villa-Vicencio used this quote in his book entitled Christianity and Human Rights. He says that for hundreds of years Christians promoted religious intolerance against any other religion. However, many of these values and practices are today rejected as contrary to a human rights culture and moral decency.ix Villa Vicencio argues in this text that the
relationship between Christianity and the human rights tradition can only enrich society to
the extent that the relationship is sustained by mutual critique and correction.x Martin Luther King believed the same thing Vicencio is saying here. Human rights for all people, no matter skin tone, religion, or political party, can only happen through dialogue, debate, and communication and not by segregation and brutality against those who seem different, but really aren’t.
Though Martin Luther King is often given the credit for developing a nonviolent strategy, it can be traced back to the New Testament. Matthew recounts Jesus teaching this very philosophy: You have heard that it was said, ?Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also (Matthew 5:38-39).xi Scripture was the basis to not only King’s speeches, but to the Civil Rights movement as a whole. Genesis was often quoted by main protestors who said God created all of creation in his image and likeness, meaning black or white, Christian or Protestant, all were created with God’s likeness in mind.
These voices were often shut down, but in the 1960s, a new idea was presented. Author Frank Lambert writes of a time where not only were African Americans seen as political and economic outsiders, but religious ones as well. They had enough of being treated not only as second-class citizens, but as second-class human beings. When they were tired and fed up with their cries being heard, they decided to do something about it. These protesters charged the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) establishment with perpetuating a morally bankrupt society that promoted greed, war, racism, and sexism. The new voices offered alternative interpretations of the gospel that were more inclusive and emphasized justice for all.xii What resulted was a grassroots movement that found its greatest power, not in legislative assemblies and courtrooms, but in a determined, persistent, and effective “politics out-of-doors,” in which an oppressed people broke unjust laws in the name of a higher law.xiii As we have seen today, the marches and protests in the streets of our country tend to have a much bigger impact then those issues brought to court, not because they get things done, but bring issues out to the public eye that may have seemed hidden before.
When Martin Luther King was confined in the Birmingham Jail in 1963, he wrote that “and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.”xiv Again, we see King’s connection to his faith getting him through the difficult event of being in jail. I often believe that he was portrayed as a present-day Moses, sent to help liberate African-Americans in the United States from something they considered close to slavery. This quote backs that up and talks about the Apostle Paul and his conversion from Christian persecutor to writing letters to the early communities.
Of course, black churches weren’t always this locked in to public issues. Paul Harvey and Phillip Goff edited a chapter in the book The Columbia Documentary History of Religion in America Since 1945. That chapter was entitled Religion and the Civil Rights Movement, and it presents documents that explore the close relationship of religion and the black freedom struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. Harvey and Goff write that it took deep religious faith to sustain the thousands of black Southerners who stood up in the face of white Southern power, endured petty daily harassment as well as more explosive acts of terrorism (beatings, bombings, kidnappings, lynching’s, and the like), and sought to redeem the soul of America, as the manifesto of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) proclaimed its mission to be.xv So, because of their faith and the belief in themselves, African-Americans feel what they are doing is important to help redeem America from the racist sins it was committing.
Now, this paper has sort of a timeline as far as civil rights activists promoting nonviolence to fight for their civil rights. It started with Gandhi and his movement to help India be liberated from the rule of Britain. His work was then studied and applied by Martin Luther King in the United States to help African-Americans fight for equality. Those two and their work affected not only the people they were fighting for, but others who were fighting for a just cause. One such person came to the forefront in 1962 to fight not directly for one race, but many who felt shortchanged with their wages. His name was Cesar Chavez, and the cause was farmworkers who’s working conditions were worse from the grape growers who employed them.
Ch??vez organized a series of farmworker strikes in the produce fields in the 1960s, where migrant laborers of Mexican descent toiled for low pay in terrible conditions. Migrant workers had briefly captured the attention of the nation in the 1930s when the Okies, whites from the American South and Southwest, migrated to California in search of work and often ended up picking produce in the fields.xvi Chavez ran into infighting during his movement, so he began a fast for weeks to show his followers that violence may be a quick idea, but it will never allow you to reach your goal. This was true about Ceasar and his fast because it brought the sides together to sign a labor law and begin discussion for better conditions. He gave up his health to help reach a goal, but it was only him who suffered and no one else. The Movement attracted so much attention, that after wrongful arrests of peaceful protestors, senator Robert Kennedy stepped in to support the farmworkers and their movement, which showed that this was much more than a race issue, but a wellness and equality for workers issue.
So how did religion and Christianity play into Cesar Chavez and the farmworkers movement? Chicano workers often displayed an image of our Lady of Guadalupe. Our Lady of Guadalupe holds a special place in the religious life of Mexico and is one of the most popular religious devotions. Her image has played an important role as a national symbol of Mexico.xvii Also, before marching, workers often celebrated mass to prepare them for not only the work and journey they will be a part of that day, but also the insults and attacks they may face from opponents who don’t believe in their cause. It also gave them the strength not to fight back or go against the nonviolent movement that had brought them so far.
During Martin Luther King’s fight for civil rights, there was another activist fighting for the cause named Malcom X. His was the world of Denmark Vesey, Harriet Tubman, and Henry McNeil Turner”a realm where the spiritual answers the existential call of the political. The spiritual and the political constituted a single domain, and this was the world Malcolm X and countless others inhabited.xviii Malcolm X believed that more politicians should be more spiritual, because it would make life so much easier for them as far as laws and political debates. He had an epiphany, they claim, either on his Mecca pilgrimage or shortly after his announcement to leave the Nation of Islam (NOI). Even Malcolm himself at times made similar statements, arguing that the separation was a result of his exposure to true Islam.xix
Malcolm said later, there was a split. The split came about primarily because they put me out, and they put me out because of my uncompromising approach to problems I thought should be solved and the movement could solve. (Malcolm X 1992a, 158) So, from all I read about Malcolm X, it seemed that he was somewhat like Martin Luther King in that he used his words to help spread his message. However, unlike King, it seemed Malcolm X wasn’t very keen on dialogue and relationship with white oppressors, but rather wanting African-Americans and revolt against them to take over. That wasn’t the foundation of what the Civil Rights movement should be. It’s the fact that everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, should live in harmony and have equal billing throughout the country, not one over the other.
Now, throughout this paper, I’ve looked at the Civil Rights Movement and how religion was a driving force throughout its timeline. But, up until this point, I’ve only looked at those who were fighting for their civil rights like African-Americans or Mexican farmworkers. We haven’t really looked at the other side of the coin so to speak, which is the role religion played for white evangelicals during this time period. Perhaps one reason for this scholarly oversight is that this is not a politically progressive story. Evangelicals were opposed to the civil rights movement and did very little in practical terms to advance social justice for African Americans during the 1960s. Most evangelicals resisted the growth of the federal government and legislation that furthered black rights.xx So, Evangelicals were the one religious’ movement at the time who saw black people fighting for their rights as absurd. The problem back then was the evangelical church got too much into political battles and statements, which in all branches in Christianity is frowned upon
White conservative Protestants, in the South and North, insisted that race relations would worsen because agitation would only stoke the fears and hatreds of whites and that government action on behalf of blacks was only a form of coercion. King rejected this reasoning by noting that “morals cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated.xxi King is saying that he cannot go out and try to change people’s morals or who they are as a person. That would be a losing battle. However, what King is trying to do is put forth ideas and rights for African-Americans within the government that protect them from these people who are segregating them, firing them wrongfully, or refusing to serve them at their restaurant or business because of the color of their skin. That was the point of the Civil Rights movement for King, not a country wide faith conversion, but a political battled fueled by faith to help regulate and handcuff these oppressors.
The Civil Rights movement wasn’t just one battle for African-Americans led by MLK, but rather many movements for different reasons to help those less fortunate than others who were wrongfully being stripped of their rights. Because of activists like MLK, Cesar Chavez, Malcolm X, and Gandhi, different groups of people from farmworkers to regular citizens were looked at and treated differently, like they belonged in the country. This battle for equality hasn’t been one yet, as movements like Black Lives Matter show us today that this fight may never end. But it’s a fight we cannot give up on, and it the forefront of this fight for equal rights, religion is a crutch that these men and women can lean on in order to guide them through the long journey they undertake every day.
Evans, Curtis J. White Evangelical Protestant Responses to the Civil Rights Movement. The Harvard Theological Review, vol. 102, no. 2, 2009, pp. 245“273
Harvey, Paul, and Philip Goff, editors. Religion and the Civil Rights Movement. The Columbia Documentary History of Religion in America Since 1945, Columbia University Press, 2005, pp. 135“198.
Lambert, Frank. Civil Rights as a Religious Movement: Politics in the Streets. Religion in American Politics: A Short History, STU – Student edition ed., Princeton University Press, 2008, pp. 160“183
Abdullah, Zain. Malcolm X, Islam, and the Black Self. Malcolm X’s Michigan Worldview: An Exemplar for Contemporary Black Studies, edited by Rita Kiki Edozie and Curtis Stokes, Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, 2015, pp. 205“226.
Audre Lorde, Our Dead Behind Us: Poems “When and how did the Civil Rights movement begin?” eNotes, 9 Oct. 2011,
William James, Moral Equivalent of War, 352, 353, 356.
Gandhi, Essential Gandhi, Autobiography
Martin Luther King, Autobiography,
King, Stride toward Freedom, 90
King, Testament of Hope, 343
Max Stackhouse, Religion and Human Rights: A Theological Apologetic
Social Justice Issues
Anyone may say that the force is unfair and unjust. Yet, who is actually ready to accept the consequences for going against the unjust law? Is breaking the law worth the penalty? The government is the one to determine whether the law is fair but what if the people think it’s not? should we protest the force? Civil rights leader like Henry David Thoreau, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. represented very different philosophies.
Thoreau and King shared the same civil disobedience ideology. King “Look forward to the time when blacks and whites would sit down together at the table of brotherhood” words taken from his “I Have a Dream” speech made in Washington in 1963. Malcolm X was interested “So I cite these various revolutions, brothers, and sisters to show you that you don’t have a peaceful revolution” (552). They differed on the use of violence to achieve their goals and they differed on the roles of whites in the civil rights movement.
“On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau was the way of educating people on why they should not go for the ideal regime. Thoreau’s job in this message that it constitutes our responsibility to put off the inadequate administration, as said by Thomas Jefferson in the “Declaration of Independence” insisted that it is our “duty to throw off an unsatisfactory government”. The reading talks about Thoreau’s polar viewpoint towards unjust authorities. “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” touches about why people of why people choose not to do anything about a government they are unhappy with. The reading is an excellent way or educating people on they should not settle for a less than perfect government. Henry David Thoreau outlines a utopian society in which each individual would be responsible for governing himself. His opposition to a centralized government is an effort to disassociate with the American government, which at the time were supporting slavery and unjustly invading Mexico. Thoreau argues that individual should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice.
Message in the Grassroots is a speech which was written to persuade the black people of America to put their differences aside and unite against the American racist hypocritical culture and defend themselves, so they can stay in America by forming a black nation. Evidence of this is when he states, ‘forget our differences and come together’ and, he calls the black people the ‘same family’, he then says that they need to ‘defend our own people right here in this country’. This shows that Malcolm X has a strong opinion that the black people need to stick together and have a ‘united front’ in front of the ‘oppressing white man’. However, the whole speech is very emotive and touching and creates great imagery. “The Message to Grassroots”, by Malcolm X, g Initially it was the verify he was a black man and he was Muslim, but more so than that he was a part of American History, Black History.
After reading his speech he could be viewed as an Anti- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In making this statement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., former a movement for the betterment and equal and/or civil rights for Blacks, and then for the rest for the rest of the nation. However, Malcolm X saw this plight as cowardice and a sure recipe of disaster. In the speech, “Message to Grassroots”, X makes the point that a revolution is an event the takes place with bloodshed. It is not possible for a nation of any kind to fight for rights or revolution without bloodshed, so in this instinct, the non-violence social movement held no residence in really changing the treatment of blacks in America, based on X speech. In the opening of the speech makes a case that now is a call for action, when X states: “We all agree tonight; all of the speakers have agreed that American has a serious problem. Not only does American have a very serious problem, but our people have a very serious problem. “The message being sent grabs the attention of the audience immediately due to the word order. The consistency use of the word problem gets the audience engaged wondering what the problem at hand is, it opens or alert the persuades that it is more to come that would be a new uh huh moment. Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. had a common purpose for African Americans; justice and equality. Illustrated through their speeches and letters, Malcolm X’s “Message to the Grass Roots” and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. The two did not share techniques or ideas.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in order to address the biggest issue in Birmingham and the United States at the time. The “Letter from Birmingham Jail” discusses the great injustices happening toward the black community in Birmingham. In order to justify his desire for radical justice and equality, King uses ethical appeals. Although not being from Birmingham he said he need to be there because of the many injustice’s whites do toward black people. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Justification on defying unjust laws is talked about in his letter and how King cites conscience as a guide to obeying just laws and defying unjust laws, in the same way, Thoreau wrote in “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”. Apart from King’s added religious beliefs, Thoreau and King shared the same ideas concerning civil disobedience and the way in which one should deal with just and unjust laws, although they demonstrated their viewpoints indifferent.
Social justice is defined as justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society. Social justice has always been an engaging topic, there so much history that goes with it. Hearing those two words I automatically think to get as close to equal in the given situation. In American society, there is a big sense of individualism and focusing on what makes us happy and just focusing on ourselves for the most part. Although self-care is not a problem I believe that people should be more willing to speak more on social injustices. If you have a voice you should use it because no one wants to fight a battle alone.
I believe speaking about problems is the only way to resolve them instead of tossing them under the rug. We allow too much to go undiscussed. We live in a society in which people desensitize themselves to atrocities going on in the world if they are not personally affected. By living in the United States, we have been given resources such as the internet and social media to spread awareness of situations going on in other countries and even in the United States to be a voice for the people who are not allowed or are too afraid to speak up. With all tools and internet outlets given to us, we could definitely start using those for change.