The Civil Rights Movement in the USA in the 1950s and 1960s Research Task – Report Blake Walker Year 11 Modern History
Investigate the life and background of the individual/group
Malcolm X was born on the 19th May, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska, by the name of Malcolm Little. Malcolm was one of eight children to Louise Norton Little who was an attentive busy housewife. His father, Earl Little who was an abrupt Baptist Minister and was also a strong supporter of Marcus Garvey, leader of the Black Nationalism movement. Whilst growing up he was a focused intelligent individual with determination to pursue a career path in Law, which was frowned upon for African Americans to pursue. In Junior High Malcolm graduated at the top of his class proving his perseverance and strong sense of self and direction, but when one of Malcolm’s favourite teacher’s discouraged him by stating that “His dream of becoming a lawyer was no realistic goal for a nigger”, Malcolm lost all sense of direction, sending him into a downward spiral eventually resulting in his lack of interest towards education and finally, his departure from school. The death of his father sent him into a further downward spiral which began his questioning into the issues relating to racism due to his father’s death, as the victim of a prejudice White Supremacist group known as the Klu Klux Klan. He then began a life in Boston, Massachusetts where he would work various odd jobs for little money, until he turned to a life of crime where he moved to the slums of New York. Malcolm eventually became a leader of various gambling and prostitution rings as well as a distributor of narcotics.
In 1946 Malcolm was arrested and charged with burglary charges and was convicted to 10 years imprisonment. Whilst he was in prison, he decided to further his education and as a result, Malcolm came to a valuable point in his life where he became fascinated by the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, a valued prominent teacher of the Nation of Islam religion. Describe the significance of the individual/group to civil rights issues in the USA Malcolm X was an immensely significant individual to the civil rights movement as Malcolm soon rose to becoming the most prominent national spokesman of the “Black Power” movement, as he specifically worked to spread the political and religious goals of the Nation of Islam on a wide scale. Malcolm acted as an Inspiration proving that African Americans can rise up from the hardship and deprivation and stand up for what they believe in regardless of how much cruel discrimination and neglection you may receive. Continuously over the years of the movement, he encouraged young African Americans to support the initiative through powerful speaking and his remarkable debating skills which enabled him to succeed in recruiting over 30,000 young African Americans. They were enticed by the ideology that in order to achieve freedom, you have to fight for it and that was the only way to achieve this. This view amongst African Americans (especially younger generations) was extremely popular. It promised to battle racism directly which to most, many thought this view would achieve the goals of the movement over a shorter time span and would be far more effective than the non violent initiatives used by individuals such as Martin Luther King which proved to become less effective over the years. Many believed that this was the only hope of achieving rights for African Americans and reinforces how Malcolm X played such a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement as he offered hope to the African Americans which were an alternative to the slow, ineffective non violent demonstrations. This provided them with an opportunity to stand up for themselves as individuals and African Americans as a nation, securing a better future for the African American in all areas of life. Outline the individual/groups beliefs and ideas and explain the forces that shaped their attitudes...
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