Malcolm X: The African-American Civil Rights Movement

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During the African-American civil rights movement from 1950 to 1968, the majority of activists supported integration and equal rights. Among the numerous advocates was Malcolm X; however, unlike other activists, Malcolm X disagreed with integration and viewed everyone else’s advocating of “civil rights” as mere tokenism. As a result of his supposed animosity towards both white people and black people, Malcolm X receives constant backlash and criticism. Although Malcolm X concludes that people should be respected regardless of color, his ultimate view of race contrasts with his view prior to traveling abroad. Through claims of value and policy, Malcolm X argues that the race problem in America derives from the societal structure rather than …show more content…
Malcolm X specifically comes to this conclusion once he starts to learn about Islam. During his time in the Norfolk Prison Colony, Malcolm X learns through his family members that Islam is the “natural religion for the black man” (158). As Malcolm X takes up Islam, he starts to focus on spreading the religion to other black inmates. When he teaches Mr. Muhammad’s lessons to the black inmates, Malcolm X would “keep close watch on how each one reacted” (186). He continues by saying, “I never knew when some brainwashed black imp... would nod at me and then go running to tell the white man. When one was ripe–and I could tell–then away from the rest, I’d drop it on him, what Mr. Muhammad taught: ‘The white man is the devil’” (186). Malcolm X’s most emphasized view on race prior to his travels is “the white man is the devil”. Although this specific view can be interpreted as a claim of fact, it is also a claim of value in that he establishes that white people are evil. Malcolm X supports this claim by telling the black inmates about how white people “had completely erased the slaves’ past….there had been a conspiracy down through the generations to keep the truth from black men” (186). By depicting the white people as the perpetrators behind the expunging of black slaves’ history, Malcolm X further supports his …show more content…
Before taking the Hajj and traveling abroad, Malcolm X establishes his claim of value regarding the white people by claiming that they are “devils” that caused the race problem. While believing this, Malcolm X also focuses his claim of policy on the expansion of the Nation of Islam. He promotes his claim of policy that encourages black people to join the Nation of Islam through his claims of value by emphasizing the wrongdoings of the white people against slaves that make the white man a “devil”. However, after Malcolm X travels to several different countries in Africa and takes the Hajj, he shows a change in both his claim of value and claim of policy. His new claim of value accuses the American societal structure of being evil rather than the white people themselves. As a result of his belief regarding the American societal structure, Malcolm X claims that the black people should bring their case to the international audience. In other words, Malcolm X goes from focusing on the supposed wickedness of the white man and need to expand the Nation of Islam, to ultimately believing that the societal structure is evil, and that the black people need to take

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