Malcolm X

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Malcolm X fought for the human rights of blacks in America in the 1950s and 60s. Malcolm believed that it was devastating for black people to compare their lives to the lives of whites and for them to perceive themselves as inferior. Malcolm tore away at the inferiority complex of black Americans by teaching blacks the self-respect that he had learned himself. In America in the 1950s, society was completely dominated by whites. Whites dominated all "political, economic and myth making power". (p.142 Wideman) Blacks in America were in the complete opposite situation. They had virtually no political power, they were segregated against by Jim Crow laws, they were poor, and many were becoming more and more disgusted with their living conditions. America had just returned from World War II, where it had achieved an incredible victory for humanity. Blacks began to wonder why America would fight overseas for human rights but wouldn't even give the same basic rights to citizens of their own country.

The civil rights movement thus began.

In American society the roots of racial separation were deep. Whites had more money, greater opportunity and were living better lives. Blacks were poor and oppressed by whites. Blacks had been living under whites for so long that a frame of consciousness had been created. This "frame" was the perceived standard of self-worth in which blacks compared their lives and self-image to the lives and images of whites. (p.142 Wideman) This "frame" was devastating for blacks. Martin Luther King explains: ". . . you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek or explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears well up in her little eyes when she is...