America is a land with leaders who were recognized with very prominent backgrounds during the civil rights period of our history. Martin Luther king Jr and Malcolm X have dedicated their lives in making America a better place for African Americans. There is a great deal of history surrounding these two individuals. The Civil Rights movement began after the end of World War II. Although, the two men stood on opposite sides taking a different approach to meet a common goal. After the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X both men still remain a great image in American history. Martin Luther King Jr. grew up middle class and received a college education. Malcom X did not receive the same privileges due to a hostile environment and very little education. Although, the upbringing was different both activists had a goal to accomplish. Beliefs between the two stamped the rise of violence verses nonviolence for the advancement of civil rights movement.
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I Have a Dream given by Martin Luther King Jr. and The Ballot or the Bullet given by Malcolm X were two great speeches that impacted America during the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr. proposed very healthy views to stop bloodshed through nonviolence and love and to live with equality. Stressing that violence only increases hate. On the other hand, Malcolm X promoted that blacks and whites could live separate but equal pushing black Americans backwards by encouraging them to take care of their own kind. We will take a look into the purpose, tone, structure and political philosophy of the two speeches. The goal that’s shared with in both speeches is that liberation and rights are necessary for the black Americans to live in equality and desegregation.
Martin Luther King Jr. captivated the attention of the audience during his speech “I Have a Dream” by using many metaphors while leaning on authority of great leaders before him and the Holy Bible. Malcolm X captivated the attention of the audience during his speech “The Ballot or The Bullet” with humor and many times dark humor. Using heavy repetition of words and whole ideas. Repeating statements such as “I Have a Dream”, “Free at Last”, “Let Freedom Ring” and “By any means necessary” to name a few from both leaders. Making it easier for the audience to remember the message repeating places additional emphasis on the issues. Slogans and statements were made against each other creating a pattern from Martin Luther King Jr. by reminding America of the fierce urgency now and Malcolm X warning black nationalist aren ‘t going to wait (The Ballot or The Bullet).
The syntax that Martin Luther King Jr. used had a choice of vocabulary “we will be able to walk together, to pray together, go to jail together, to struggle together, to climb for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day”(Martin Luther King Jr.) Malcolm X syntax was very straight forward “I don ‘t usually deal with those big words because I don’t usually deal with big people, I deal with small people (The Ballot or Bullet). We can see the difference in the tone and attitude of each speaker. Martin Luther King Jr. peaceful protest against inequality persuading the importance of the civil rights movement. He explained his ambition of his dream for the people of the south repeating “I Have a Dream” continually throughout his speech (Barlow).
The March on Washington was the greatest demonstration to protest for freedom our nation was built upon. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the authority of President Lincoln Gettysburg Address 100 years earlier. The Emancipation Proclamation that officially freed slaves during the civil war. This declaration promised to free slaves at that time now during the civil rights movement Negros were still not free. Liberations and rights was one of the marks Martin Luther proposed in his “I Have a Dream” speech. Using Lincoln brought a new sense of freedom establishing a credibility with the audience(Phibbs). Racism is not what America was built upon. The address was structured to change the minds and hearts of the American people to live equal. Another authority Martin Luther King Jr. used was the Declaration of Independence in which invoked the authority to his cause. Martin Luther King Jr. speech presents that the American Government and Constitution has neglected the obligation to all American people whether black or white. Martin Luther King Jr. expressed the political importance of the ideas of our founding fathers that this is the land of the free where all men are created equal.
Martin Luther King Jr. keep the audience attention in his fight for freedom. Emotional values were part of Martin Luther King Jr. strategy using the Holy Bible presented his belief and faith. Spiritually racial injustice was viewed as not being part of Gods will thus be providing redemption for racial sins. This strategy was used in previous speeches. Martin Luther King Jr. expressed his position as a father that was deeply rooted in the American dream. This dream that we all deserve to have a freedom to dream. Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character”(I Have a Dream). In this address Martin Luther King Jr. educated, inspired and informed America that we could live equal and together.
Martin Luther King Jr. seized the moment by repeating “Now is the time”(Martin Luther King Jr.) during the march on Washington in his fight for jobs and freedom. Martin Luther King Jr. used words like “My Country Tis of Thee” and “Let Freedom Ring” to introduce that this was not only a race problem but, to place this issue on a national level. Martin Luther King Jr. expressed that blacks should struggle with a high level of dignity and discipline and we should not seek to separate ourselves from whites. Expressing the importance of hope since many had suffered persecution and violence. Martin Luther King Jr. stressed that this was a problem for us all and we should seek a solution. Martin Luther King Jr. states “and so even though we face difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream”(Phibbs). This he expressed towards the concept of the American dream.
Determined, powerful, passionate, influential expression of emotion entailing social justice was the driven points of the I Have a Dream speech. The tone of Martin Luther King Jr. was very passionate that he could not remain on the script he had prepared for the March on Washington. Martin Luther King Jr. also preached from his heart. Martin Luther King Jr. trademarks of using rhythm, recurrent, repetition and reappearing alliteration on this summary on American nightmare offering the opportunity for blacks and whites to work in harmony. This dream was not only for the blacks but for all Americans. During this time of the civil rights movement there was a force that was a little equal but against the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. Malcolm X our second great leader had a voice in the movement following the “I Have a Dream” speech he presented April 12, 1964, The Ballot or The Bullet.
Malcolm X speech challenged blacks to practice black nationalism. “In this country, political oppression at the hand of the white man, economic exploitation at the hands of white men, and social degradation at the hand of the white man”(Malcolm X). Malcolm X used the rhetorical strategy to recognize the racial inequality, voting rights and civil right of the black people. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X had a common goal for the rights and liberation of black Americans. Malcolm X was more on the segregated but equal side. Malcolm X stressed the importance that blacks should exercise their constitutional rights to vote and to be their own person. He promoted in his speech that black nationalism only means that blacks should control their own communities. Focusing on not allowing white politics to come into black communities and gain votes and power in the black communities(Hernandez). Stressing that white democrats pretend to support blacks. During the re-election of Lyndon B. Johnson who idea was the “Great Society) that this would include more rights and equality for African Americans(Hernandez).
Malcolm wanted to instill in the minds of black people that blacks suffered oppression and discrimination since being taken from Africa by Europeans. That by voting they can take advantage of their rights to remove racially motivated whites out of positions of power and take back control of the community. (Hernandez). Malcolm used repeated statements to grasp and keep the attention of his audience in “The Ballot or The Bullet”, first and thinking. Malcolm also quoted “Give me Liberty or Give me death” by Patrick Henry during the revolutionary war to point out that this is what gave freedom to the whites. Malcolm X stood on the grounds of blacks should take care of their own and pour back into black businesses and communities. Malcom X approach became violent in his speeches when he expressed “By any means necessary”. This was implemented should the government attempt to stop the black Americans from attaining full equality under the law. Malcolm X wanted the whites to suffer just as the blacks did. Malcolm X preached against nonviolence but he agreed that peace is needed in America.
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