Civil Right's Affect on Literature

Topics: Martin Luther King, Jr., African American, Jim Crow laws Pages: 3 (1055 words) Published: May 17, 2013
Joey Hall
Paper 2

What does America mean to you? To most people this question would evoke joyful feelings of patriotism. Most people you would think of freedom, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the belief that in this great nation, people are treated with the thought in mind that all men are created equal. However, until very recently in this country this was not the case. African Americans in this country were the subject of vicious, hateful, racial discrimination. They were treated without a hint of human decency and were segregated from the rest of American society. The South’s “Jim Crow Laws” forced blacks into “separate but equal” schools, forced them to eat in different restaurants, stay in different hotels, and even drink from different water fountains. ( In the 1960’s, more and more brave African Americans began to step forward and let their voices be heard in the name of freedom, and through this struggle for freedom, much great American literature was created.

The writings at the time of the civil rights movement provided perspective on what black Americans were going through at the time, and also helped educate the masses on what the leaders of this movement felt needed to be changed. One of these books was “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”. In it, one of the most influential, controversial, outspoken civil rights leaders opens up about his personal life, but also, his beliefs on the issue of race in America. Malcolm was known for his sometimes extreme views on black people reaching equality. However his autobiography was written at a time when he relented slightly on his unwillingness to cooperate with other races. He is quoted in it as saying:

“Despite my firm convictions, I have been always a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand...

Cited: "Civil Rights Movement." 16 Apr. 2013. <>.
King, Martin L. Why We Can 't Wait. New York: Harper, 1964.

X, Malcolm, and Alex Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X.. New York: Grove Press, 1965.
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