Malcolm X

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Year 12 Modern History Individual History Essay

"To what extent did Malcolm X play a positive role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and the 1960s in America?"

Word Count: 1923 words

To a limited extent Malcolm X played a positive role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s in America. Malcolm X was an African-American Muslim minister, leader and human rights activist. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s Malcolm X became one of the most prominent advocates for the rights of African Americans. As a proponent of self-defense, he was able to strengthen the notion of equality and inspire African Americans to vigorously resist racism. Furthermore, his advocacy of Black Nationalism successfully
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Malcolm X's legacy both inspired and was responsible for the creation of organisations and movements that positively affected the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s in the United States.

However, through both his advocacy and promotion of hatred for the white population and violent protest to rally support from Black Americans, Malcolm X reinforced the great racial division between blacks and whites. Influenced by the teachings of the Nation of Islam, Malcolm used inflammatory rhetoric calling whites "devils," suggesting that they were inferior to blacks. He developed a negative stereotype of white people exclaiming, "the white man's primary interest is not to elevate the thinking of black people, or to waken black people, or white people either. The white man is interested in the black man only to the extent that the black man is of use to him." Such blatant racism validated the discrimination and oppression of African Americans by the white population of America. More importantly his public speech "The Ballot or the Bullet" is a clear example of how Malcolm was a proponent of aggressive and violent behavior. He began by telling his supporters to arm themselves by outlining, "Article number two of the Constitutional amendments provides you and me the right to own a rifle or a shotgun. It is constitutionally legal to own a

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