Professor Gina Crawford
11 March 2018
African Americans have come a long way for freedom and civil rights. Because of this, movements have taken place peacefully throughout history to obtain these opportunities. Prominent figures in society have fought for minorities to be free, represented, and understood. Although these privileges are now apparent in the world, for most, they are still presented with trials and tribulations that ultimately prohibit them from prospering in the same way as their counterparts. Malcolm X, an African American activist, and minister helped shaped the Civil Rights era by continuing his education to become an advocate for black rights, introducing his philosophies to allow others to understand their significance in society, and by influencing others to continue championing for civil rights.
Malcolm X furthered his education and in doing so was motivated to push for African Americans rights. “He graduated from junior high school at the top of his class, only to lose interest after a favorite teacher told him that his dream of becoming a lawyer was, no realistic goal for a negro” (Malcolm X: The Ballot or the Bullet par 1). Malcolm X was a stellar student that was shattered after his teacher’s harsh words. X willingly listened to this negativity and gave up. As a result, he summoned up vengeance and got into trouble. “In 1946, while imprisoned for robbery, Malcolm X converted to the Black Muslim faith and, within years of his release, rose up the ranks as a minister in the Nation of Islam. He claimed that his new name, Malcolm X, embodied his life; the X signified his lost tribal name” (Malcolm X: The Ballot or the Bullet par 2). After realizing his mistake, X turned his life around and became a minister and to preach the values of freedoms to his people for representation. This allowed him to prosper and teach Black Americans their standing in life along with their purpose.
Malcolm X’s philosophies allowed African Americans to understand their importance in the world. Malcolm X’s charisma and intelligence allowed people to take interest in him as he advocated for black rights. Because of this, X uncovered the true accounts of what African Americans faced in a racially conscious world. Malcolm X wanted African Americans to prevail and often urged those to seek courage like himself and voice their opinions. “He espoused the primacy of racial dignity and encouraged the black man to elevate his own society instead of trying to force himself into the unwanted presence of the white society” (Malcolm X 1925-1965 par 12). X preached for the black man to venture outside of the white man’s world and way of thinking to achieve growth and gain independence to create a world symbolic and worthy of their own culture. Because of this, Black Americans were given the motivation to overcome their daily struggles by furthering their education, building their own businesses to become independent from their counterparts.
Malcolm X’s legacy influenced others to continue their favoring for black rights even after his assassination. “Malcolm’s immediate legacy was in the burgeoning black power movement in which he directly influenced the political development of Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale” (Cuthbert-Kerr par 5). With an inspiration from X, both Newton. By influencing various organizations to movies and music, the legacy Malcolm X left behind was embraced fully. Individuals continue to bring awareness to black lives and their matters by standing firmly to help overcome living in a society full of pressures to build a foundation of positivity.
Today, Malcolm X continues his prominent legacy as a courageous figure in history that fought peacefully for black rights throughout the fifties and sixties. With these challenges being hard to fathom during the civil rights movement, X stood by his people and promoted peaceful protests to boycott the harsh treatments experienced by those around them. Although Malcolm X was known to be controversial by speaking out for African Americans, there is no denying that he impacted black culture through his teachings, his enamored ways of identifying equality and by standing up for what was right even though many did not agree. Without Malcolm X’s contributions in the world, the beauty of being black would not be as significant and symbolic as it is today.
Cuthbert-Kerr, Simon. “Malcolm X.” Encyclopedia of American Studies, edited by Simon Bronner, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1st edition, 2016. Credo Reference, http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/jhueas/malcolm_x/0?institutionId=8703. Accessed 10 Mar 2018.
“Malcolm X (1925–1965).” The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame, Peter Dreier, Nation Books, 1st edition, 2012. Credo Reference, http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/persgreatest/malcolm_x_1925_1965/0?institutionId=8703. Accessed 10 Mar 2018.
Malcolm X: The Ballot or the Bullet, April 3, 1964.” Ripples of Hope: Great American Civil Rights Speeches, edited by Josh. Gottheimer, et al., Perseus, 1st edition, 2003. Credo Reference, http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/pershope/malcolm_x_the_ballot_or_the_bullet_april_3_1964/0?institutionId=8703. Accessed 07 Mar 2018.