Race Relations And The Slave Essay

1731 words - 7 pages

By the middle of March 1964, the American Civil Rights Movement was in fruition. Nine months after Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Amiri Baraka released two plays highlighting a less peaceful movement, called Dutchman and The Slave, whose goal was to gain black independence through self-defense, and expose the ambiguities in American race relations. Instead of supporting non-violence and peaceful integration, like Martin Luther King Jr., Baraka became a radical. He began writing his plays with similar ideas and beliefs as Malcolm X. Baraka demonstrated his ideas on the Civil Rights Movement though his second play, The Slave. This work was very controversial because it incited African Americans to take aggressive action, encouraging nationwide riots, African Americans to defend themselves, and the succession of the African American race. Many African Americans at this time were torn between the preaching of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, and were unsure of which movement to follow. This caused a rift between active and passive civil rights advocates among the African Americans community, as well as white activists, opposition, and bystanders throughout America during the 1960’s and beyond.
On August 28, 1963, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was held in Washington D.C. Close to a quarter of a million people surrounded the Lincoln Memorial at the event waiting for Dr. King to deliver his speech (Block). On this day he delivered his legendary "I Have a Dream" speech, advocating for an end to racism in the United States through peaceful integration and equality. He discussed means of peace, stating in an earlier interview, “I am more convinced… that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity" (Block). Throughout his participation in the Civil Rights Movement, King was criticized by Civil Rights Movement leaders who thought differently, including more militant African Americans like the Nation of Islam’s leader, Malcolm X. Malcolm was unable to understand why black people were excited over King’s speech. He believed that this form of peaceful integration would be unsuccessful and became suspended from representing the Nation of Islam because of his outbursts on the subject. Malcolm then began traveling within the states and Africa to further develop his objective. On March 2, 1964, Malcolm X returned from Africa where he had philosophically and culturally developed a working unity in the framework of Pan-Africanism amongst Africans and their government. He ventured to the United States in order to have a more direct affect on African Americans and fight for the benefits the constitution guarantees all citizens. He urged African Americans to remember the history of violent European colonization, and how European blacks did not secure power through integration, but by violence and force. Malcolm influenced many...

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