The Influence of Malcolm X upon Young Black Men

This meant that young black men who became dissatisfied with the pace of change of the civil rights movement and disillusioned by King’s Gandhi pacifism, ‘Uncle Tom’ figure and his inability to bring effective changes to the Northern cities, could turn to Malcolm X, an alternative and militant counterpoint to Martin Luther King. Unlike Martin Luther King, Malcolm X offered effective and radical ideas; like condoning violence on the grounds Of self-defense, which appealed to young black men in the Northern cities because they were likely to be victims of police brutality. Martin Luther King’s failure to respond effectively to Northern frustration directly links to the Northern poverty which was prominent in cities like Harlem, Chicago and Detroit as in general, the civil rights movement proved to be ineffective and unhelpful for the North.

This is shown through the fact that only 32% of black pupils finished High School and 46% of those living in he ghettos were unemployed and were subjected to poor housing, poverty and violence. Despite this, this only enhanced Malcolm Ax’s appeal amongst young black men as the leader not only raised awareness of the hardships in the ghettos but voiced the anger and frustration of the black ghetto underclass as he focused on the needs of the African-Americans who lived in the north and west’s industrial cities.

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In addition to this, young black men in the North identified with Malcolm X because he too lived in the ghettos and prior to his political career, engaged in criminal activities and received a 12 year sentence for his crimes. This only made the Muslim leader even more relatable, and so he represented young black men in the North and appealed to the black community through his scathing denunciations of white America and direct approach concerning black supremacy and black separatism.

As a result of this, young black men strongly agreed with these views as they were attracted by Malcolm Ax’s stress on racial pride and dignity, economic and political self-sufficiency and freedom from white oppression.