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Better speech - Essay Example

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“Letter from Birmingham Jail” was King’s response to criticism by white Christian leaders from Alabama who, describing him and other leaders of the civil rights movements as “outsiders coming in,” had dismissed their protest against segregation in the south as…
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Better speech

Download file to see previous pages... Stating “an unjust law is no law at all’ (King 1), he argues that oppressed citizens have a moral obligation to break unfair laws. King believes that direct non-violent action will “dramatize the issue of non-violent action so that it can no longer be ignored” (2). The community, represented by their leaders, will thus have no option but to confront the issue through negotiation (king 2). This shows that though coming from a racial group that has been oppressed for hundreds of years; he has faith in the possibility of the white power structure to rise from “the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood”.
Unlike king who portrays unshakeable faith in America’s ability to use dialogue in dealing with the unfairness brought about by segregation, Malcolm X, in “The Ballot or The Bullet”, conveys the image of a bold and outspoken man. His speech proposes a paradigm shift in the thinking of civil rights activists. He expounds the benefits of Black Nationalism to the audience and portrays “Uncle Sam” as unwilling to lift the black man from oppression. He points out “America’s conscience is bankrupt” (Malcolm 1). This statement is indicative of his disillusionment with the government. He believes that the white man’s aim is to keep him in a permanent state of subjugation. He makes it clear that if the blacks are not empowered through participation in elective democracy (the ballot); they will have no choice but to seek empowerment through violence (the bullet). He urges the audience to wake up to the fact that neither the courts nor any form of dialogue within America will help solve the problems of the black community. Malcolm X (1) notes, “The entire civil rights struggle needs a new interpretation”. He informs the audience that they should no longer look for ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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