The Ballot or the Bullet
The ballot or the bullet is one of the most influential speeches ever written, persuasive, outstanding and poetic. Malcolm X, a human rights activist wrote this speech because he was annoyed with the delay in reaching a verdict on the rights of Afro-Americans in the congress. He wanted to make it clear to them that if they couldn’t make a decision on the issue Afro-Americans would take matters into their own hands claiming it was either the ballot or the bullet promising a violent seizure of his people’s civil rights.
Malcolm also wrote the speech to respond directly to Martin Luther Kings’ “I have a dream” speech which had been delivered a month in advance. They shared a mutual goal which was real freedom for Afro-Americans but had different ideas on how to achieve this. Whereas Martin Luther at the time was a pacifist, Malcolm X was a more of a radical who supported violence and did not agree with Luther on waiting.
Malcolm X used quite a few methods to incite emotion from his audience but the main method just as Martin Luther did was repetition. Martin repeated the phrase “I have a dream” however Malcolm echoes “I am not…..” This words ring in the minds of every one attending as they recognise and identify with his assertions. He further echoes “You and I” throughout his speech in case they missed it showing that they are one, identifying his claim that he nor they are American but rather a victim of Americanism. His followers relate to the idea and he repeats this idea so many times so that even the white listeners know they are hated and loathed. He also repeats his philosophy of Black Nationalism throughout the speech saying that “you and I” should control the politics in our community. This arouses anger in the crowd as he shows them that everything in their community is controlled by the white who to him, don’t have the good of their community at heart.
Malcolm also stroke fear to his white listeners using the phrase...
References: x, Malcolm. "Social Justice Speeches." 3 April 1964. http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/speeches/malcolm_x_ballot.html. 19 November 2014.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document