Essay Example on the Book The Ballot or the Bullet by Malcolm

Published: 2022-12-13
Essay Example on the Book The Ballot or the Bullet by Malcolm
Type of paper:  Critical thinking
Categories:  Race Racism Human rights American history American literature
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 709 words
6 min read


The book "The Ballot or the Bullet" was created back in the year 1964. Malcolm addresses blacks who reside in America concerning their rights which are continuously being violated by the current American government of that time (1964). Since he was giving out the speech in America, he could not address other Americans with the language he was using, if this would have been the case then a strange reaction from the crowd may have been included in book or other relevant sources, Americans could not continue listening when Malcolm was talking about a possible war outbreak, when he says, it is either ballot or bullet.

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Similarly, the author uses the article "we" most of the times in his speech to refer to them as a group of blacks, proving that he is addressing a people of a similar characteristic, in this case, all were blacks.


The document (Malcolm), is about American whites and the black Americans back in the year 1960s. The author narrates how the whites have used them beginning from their parents, very many years ago, promising all sort of changes, but upon securing positions In government, the black Americans are forgotten and are mistreated with all kinds of degradation and exploitation, "All of us suffered here, in this country, political expression at the hands of the white man, economic exploitation and social degradation at the hands of the white man" (Malcolm).

Besides, Malcolm adds that issue with religion should be appointed of argument as it may not be necessary as the freedom that has been withdrawn from the blacks. Malcolm's main aim was to expand the minds of the fellow blacks on the ongoing instances of exploitation by the whites and to tell them to prepare for the outbreak of war against whites should freedom fail to equal for all American citizens, regardless of one being a black or white, " let them know your eyes are open, and let them know you something else that's wide open too. It's got to be the ballot or the bullet" (Malcolm).


This document was mainly created so that the future generations, who were not yet born by that time could find some source of reference and be able to interpret how far the world has evolved to reach its current situation. It was also created to ensure that, heroes who fought for justice like Malcolm were known from generation to generation just like in the bible which helps Christians to know Jesus as the one who fought for them until the point when he was crucified.

It gives a clear view in the sense that the speech is short and very precise to the point, if this book was no longer created then, maybe no one could have believed that all these happened. Additionally, the book is free on the website. Thus any person can download it and read it at will; this makes it more convenient source of information and as a result, a majority are having the information of all that occurred back in the year 1964 in America.

Historical Context

The book was created just the same year of the Americans political year when new leaders were almost beginning their race in states and towns in search of votes from the citizens, "1964 threatens to be the most explosive year America has ever witnessed. The most explosive year. Why it's also a political year." (Malcolm).

Malcolm saw this as an opportunity to harass the whites as he was sure the whites would start walking to the negros asking them for votes "it's the year when all the white politicians will be back in the so-called negro community giving you and I for some votes" (Malcolm). He needed changes to conquer before the election, or otherwise, the war breaks out, what he refers to as "it's either ballot or bullet." , therefore, a political year in the USA.

The speech was delivered on April 3, 1964, at Cory Methodist Church in Cleveland located at Ohio. It was typically in response to the foot-dragging which was going on at the Congress when periods of voting neared for the passage of the Civil Rights Act C.

Works Cited

Malcolm, X. "The ballot or the bullet." April 3 (1964): 23-44.

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