Ballot or the Bullet
People would come from all over the country to Harlem, New York in the year 1964 to listen to Malcolm Little, better known as Malcolm X, give his speeches about having more civil rights for the black community. He claimed that they should try to spend money inside of their community to help it prosper and prevent it from becoming a slum or a ghetto. He compared their situation many times to when America was first starting and how they had to fight for their freedom from Britain. Malcolm X talked about Patrick Henry and how he said, “Give me liberty or give me death” and was saying that they need to stand up for what they want. He said that there can not be a revolution with blood shed but America is in a position right now where they can be involved in a “Bloodless revolution.” One thing that he repeated throughout his speech was that it would be the “ballot or the bullet” (Malcolm X). This meant that they would either get what they asked for or they would have to fight for it.
In Malcolm X’s speech he addressed different rhetorical strategies to convey his message to the people of Harlem. One way the speaker attempted to sway his audience to feel the way that he did was by telling the people that he was educated about how the white people felt when they were suppressed by Britain. The white people of the time were being taxed without representation. He learned who Patrick Henry was and how he would rise up and say “Liberty or death” which is the equivalent to what Malcolm X’s slogan was, ballot or the bullet. He said that, the statement “Liberty or death” brought freedom to the white people in this country and that if they could do it, so could he and his supporters. He also talked about how he knew the new generations of black people in this country didn’t care how far the odds were against them; they wanted to fight for their rights to be equals to the white people of America. They would ignore the odds altogether until they had succeeded