Martin Luther King vs. Malcom X Speeches

In History, we recently had been taught about the 1950s and 1960s. In class, we have been focusing on the Civil Rights Movement and important activists, such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. MLK, the most prominent member of the civil rights movement and Malcolm X, an African-American political leader of the twentieth century both believed in two separate ways to persuade audiences while making speeches. Martin Luther King believed in peaceful protests while Malcolm X believed in introducing a more aggressive approach which led people to rebel for change. To expand our knowledge on this topic, Mrs. Shaw, in Design Studio showed us two speech videos on the two activists.

In Malcolm X’s speech, he begins to ask questions to the audience about hating yourself. He begins by asking: “Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair?” This first makes the crowd silent. Then he says again: “Who taught you to hate the color of your skin to such extent that you bleach to get liked by a white man?” This then becomes interested by the audience, intrigued. The repetition of the next couple sentences he says also makes his speech stronger, louder, and deeper. It allows the listeners to think about what he really means. Later he says: “Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the toes of your feet?” From the different things he said, different people reacted different ways. Some people laughed while others applauded in agreement. He goes on by telling the audience, “Before you ask Mohammad who taught him how to hate, you should ask yourself, who taught you to hate being what god gave you.” He added compliments to his speech to allow the people to believe that he is thoughtful and kind. He added humour to his speech to make others interested and entertained. He then later explained that if a white man were to touch another black man’s woman they will kill you for their women. He explained how they will be very protective of their women and he said; “we believe that if the white man will do whatever is necessary to see that his woman gets respected protection, then you and I will never be really recognized as men until we stand up like men and place the same penalty over the head of anyone who puts his filthy hands out to put in the direction of our women.”

Malcolm X speaks to his audience as if he is having a conversation with them. How they react to what he says is their response to what he is saying. He has strong and deep opinions that persuades the audience to trust him and to use violence when needed to keep their family safe and to keep good positive thinking about themselves as people.

In Martin Luther King’s speech, he begins by doing the same as Malcolm X did with the repetition. He first begins to say: “Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of Press.” This repetition grew stronger and the stronger the more times he used it. Also, what made his speech stronger was that he spoke louder every time he repeated the “somewhere I read..”. Strongly he then said, “Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest.” This then led to an audience full applause. People were agreeing with him. He later said: “We’ve got some difficulties ahead, but it really don’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop.” I believe that MLK means that the ‘mountaintop’ is the end of his fight. He will not pass a certain point of his protesting and begin violence. He will peacefully wait for the rights to come for both the African Americans and the Whites. To conclude his speech, which many audience members applauded, he said: “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. I just want to do god’s will. And he’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, I’ve seen the promised land.”

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