AP English 3
20 October 2014
Justice by Any Means Necessary
Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925. He was an African American human rights activist and an influential man who advocated the rights of African Americans. He delivered many speeches; such as Black Man’s History, The Black Revolution, and Message to the Grassroots. During the time period Malcolm X lived in there was much discrimination against African Americans. They were not yet equal with whites and were considered second class citizens that received unacceptable pay and bad treatment wherever they went. This is what inspired him to write most of his speeches, including Message to the Grassroots (Mrdaveyd). The speech was called Message to the Grassroots because he delivered the speech at the Northern Negro Grass Roots Leadership Conference on November 10, 1963. Message to the Grassroots was a monumental speech because it was delivered by a monumental man, Malcolm X. In the speech he openly opposed popular opinions like that of Martin Luther King Jr., and he encouraged a bloody revolution.
In this speech, Malcolm X is critical of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and his ideals. King was a peaceful Christian-man who wanted to stop segregation against African Americans which was similar to what Malcolm X hoped for. He believed in nonviolence and did not hate white people. On the other hand, Malcolm X was harsh and believed in having a violent revolution and was racist toward white people. This has given us two ways to view the social problems going on in their time period because both of these inspiring men fought for the same rights but had different ideas of how to achieve them (Rollyson).
Revolution, by definition, is a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system. Revolutions occur when a certain group of people is not receiving the wants and needs they desire. Malcolm X wanted revolution to change the way African Americans were being treated and looked upon in society. In this speech he states that the American Revolution in 1776 as well as the French Revolution was for land to gain independence and it was carried out with bloodshed. Malcolm X also referred to the Chinese Revolution which was for land and also involved wiping out millions of people (Message to). He alluded to these revolutions because he believed that bloodshed is necessary for revolution to occur and without violence in revolutions people cannot succeed.
According to X, there is a difference between the black revolution and the Negro revolution. Black revolution is composed of violence and bloodshed. Negro revolution is associated with nonviolence and “turning the other cheek” (Jimarlo). He opposes the idea of a Negro revolution. Malcolm also divided African slaves into two categories: House Negroes and Field Negroes. House Negroes were typically identified with their masters and were treated better than Field Negroes. The Field Negroes lived in shacks and hated their masters. As a result of slavery, Malcolm became racist and hateful toward white. This is significant because he believed violence was the answer and also criticized African Americans who associated with Caucasian people which in turn reveals what a critical and violent man he was.
In Message to the Grassroots, Malcolm X used rhetorical devices to justify his argument as well as to influence and persuade his audience. Malcolm started off his speech with the rhetorical device anaphora to make his audience believe that they were similar to each other. In the fourth paragraph of this speech he said: “We have a common enemy. We have this in common: We have a common oppressor, a common exploiter, and a common discriminator.” X also used metaphors to make his audience feel a certain way. “He’s a wolf and you’re a