What beliefs do King and Malcom X share? What problems do they think exist for black Americans in the 1960s?

Compare and contrast writing analyzes similarities and differences. The essay will be 3-4 pages, double-spaced in 12pt font, have a clear thesis, introduction, body, and conclusion. Descriptions will be supported with examples, testimony, and quotes, using APA format (for both format and citations). The essay will be graded with the Dialogues Written Communication Grading Rubric.

For this essay, students will compare and contrast Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech and Malcolm X’s “The ballot or the bullet” speech. In your essays, students must address the following points and questions:

  • According to these two speeches, what beliefs do King and Malcom X share? What problems do they think exist for black Americans in the 1960s?
  • What major differences exist in their attitudes towards white people, as articulated in these speeches? In addressing this question, you should discuss Malcolm X’s account of Black Nationalism.
  • In these speeches, both men demonstrate a concern for achieving freedom for black Americans. Do they disagree about how to achieve this freedom? In what ways?

With the exception of the historical and biographical information available in the iBook, students should concentrate primarily on the speeches themselves (which are available on Canvas, in the “Civil Rights in America” module) and refer to specific passages in these speeches:



Essays that do not refer directly to these primary sources or that primarily use other sources (such as internet sources) will not receive credit for the “content area” criterion of the rubric.

Use the following references for the two speeches:

King, M.L., Jr. (1963, August 28). I have a dream. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University. Retrieved from https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/i-have-dream-address-delivered-march-washington-jobs-and-freedom.

Malcolm X. (1964). The ballot or the bullet. American RadioWorks. Retrieved from http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/blackspeech/mx.html.

When using in-text citations for these sources, you can refer to paragraph numbers instead of page numbers. For example, cite King’s speech as (King, 1963, para. 6) or Malcom X’s speech as (Malcolm X, 1964, para. 10), where you will substitute the correct paragraph number.

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