James Baldwin And The Movements Of The Civil Rights Movement

1298 Words 6 Pages
“The glorification of one race and the consequent debasement of another—or others always has been and always will be a recipe for murder” (Baldwin, 96). While many can argue about racism in America, an almost constant fact that a movement needs great leaders to create real change. During the civil rights movement, leaders such as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Malcolm X gave the movement direction which helped lead progress. Although they did not all agree on philosophies, each had different relevance propelled the movement. A sometimes overlooked activist, James Baldwin, had his own opinions and worked hard with the other leaders to create the change he wanted to see.
In 1957, Baldwin got involved in the Civil Rights Movement. His
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Malcolm X’s reassuring philosophies were said to have “inspired Black cultural nationalists who emphasized cultural revitalization” (Ibram H Rogers). While many other activists argued for equality Malcolm X was not willing to give up his race. When asked about integration Malcolm X responded “well as a black man and proud of being a black man I can 't conceive of myself as having any desire whatsoever to lose my identity I wouldn 't want to live in a world where none of my kind existed “(Malcolm X). Malcolm X message was quite powerful because it connected with the anger and feelings of young African Americans. It bolstered their confidence by suggesting it is better to be black. Arguing that one is better because they are black spread fast because of the moral boost, however, ultimately was detrimental to society. Countering racism with more racism while easy does not solve the ultimate issues of rights and society. In an interview Baldwin addresses Malcolm X’s ideas of racial pride stating “what he does is destroy a truth and invent a history. What he does is say, “you’re better because you’re black.” Well, of course that isn’t true (Baldwin). Baldwin focuses on the truth behind Malcolm X’s teaching; however, true or not they did have a large impact. The ideas of racial pride worked because they connected with the angry young African American. During a time when people were flat out racist and tried belittle others because of their skin color, a good defense against this was religion and a belief that god is on your side. Malcolm X focused on what they really did need which was a sense of self-worth and a culture

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