Rhetorical Analysis Of Malcolm X's The Ballot Or The Bullet

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On April 3, 1964, human rights activist and Muslim minister, Malcolm X, delivered his most famous speech “The Ballot or the Bullet” to a predominantly black audience during a meeting at the Cory Methodist Church sponsored by the Cleveland Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). In the speech, Malcolm X implores African Americans of all faiths to stand up for themselves and fight against the political oppression, economic exploitation, and social degradation of African Americans at the hands of the white man. The speech was given shortly after Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam, an African American political and religious movement, for which he had been the spokesman, and declared his willingness to cooperate with the Civil Rights Movement. Accordingly, he wanted to distance himself from the Nation of Islam, who critics have described as black supremacist and anti-Semitic, and expand his audience to include non-Muslim African Americans and moderates who viewed the Nation of Islam as too radical. Malcolm X begins his speech by successfully employing emotional appeals; he establishes common ground with his audience by discussing the collective experience of African Americans of all faiths in an oppressive, white America which invokes their anger and frustrations. Next, he builds his credibility, using numbers and federal law to expose the “political con-game” being played by the Democratic Party, with African Americans as its victims, and encourage blacks to uses
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