Speaker

The speaker of “The Ballot or the Bullet” is Malcolm X. Born Malcolm Little, Malcolm X changed his name after he became a member of the Nation of Islam (NOI) because he believed “Little” reflected the slave-name white people gave to his ancestors.

At the time he delivered the speech, Malcolm X was already well-known to the public, because he had been the most prominent speaker for the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X converted to Islam while in prison (1946-1952) and joined the Nation of Islam. After he got out of prison, he became an important speaker for the NOI. Their policy favored African-American separatism and did not allow its members to get involved in politics. Consequently, the policy of NOI differed from that of the Civil Rights Movement, which promoted integration, pacifism, and diplomacy in the fight for African-American civil rights.

Just a few weeks before the speech “The Ballot or the Bullet”, Malcolm X had left the Nation of Islam, but he remained a Muslim believer. This is why he introduces himself as a Muslim in his speech: “…I would like to clarify something concerning myself. I'm still a Muslim; my religion is still Islam. That's my personal belief.”. In this way, the speaker wants to sho…

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