The Ballot Or The Bullet Summary

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In April 1964, in the midst of a 54 day Senate filibuster of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, Malcolm X gave his famous speech, “The Ballot or the Bullet”. In “The Ballot or the Bullet”, Malcolm X advocates for racial, economic, and social justice through the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, more black voting control, and more black local control through any means possible, including violence and the threat of it. Throughout the entire speech, the metaphor of “the ballot or the bullet” is repeatedly used. X states this phrase constantly throughout the speech, even repeating it multiple times in succession. He uses this anaphora to emphasize the importance of this to his audience. X is trying to convey to his fellow black Americans that if they don’t receive the political say they deserve, it may be necessary to turn to violence to get the equal power they should already possess. This speech was given a month before the Civil Rights Act was passed by the Senate, which made many of its arguments about voting obsolete and solved many of Malcolm X’s complaints. If passed, the Civil Rights Act would give them the “ballot”, which is what X is pushing for. The violence the “bullet” refers to is secondary, only to be fallen back onto if they don’t receive the “ballot”. …show more content…

The speech opened the eyes of many blacks, inspiring a change to begin to occur. Through analogies, metaphors, and a vitriolic and urgent tone, Malcolm X concisely and clearly informs the audience of their mistreatment and encourages them to get their just deserts. X’s intelligence, passion, and oratorical skills helped make “The Ballot or the Bullet” one of the greatest rhetorical acts in black history. This phrase, “The Ballot or the Bullet”, truly defines Malcolm X’s stance on the current treatment of blacks and how he believes a violent response is necessary when all other means of communication are ignored or

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