“The Ballot Or The Bullet”- Malcolm X Analysis Sample Paper


On April 3, 1964, in Cleveland, Ohio Malcolm x gave his speech “The Ballot or the Bullet”. Malcolm X delivered this speech to relay the warning that if African Americans were not granted the right to vote, that the movement may devolve into violence. Malcolm X wanted his speech to emphasize the horrific common experience that all African Americans were facing. As a Black nationalist, Malcolm X pushes for people of color to “wake up” and fight for their right to vote, even if it resorts to violent means. In his speech he poses the question to the government on whether they wanted the “ballot or the bullet”? (X 1964)


Malcolm X poses multiple arguments throughout his speech that sparked political discourse during a peak time in the Civil Rights Movement. He argues that politicians lied when they promised African Americans civil rights for their own personal gain. He also states that African Americans are blindly voting for candidates who do nothing when they are in office. His next argument is that it is illegal and unconstitutional to prevent Blacks from voting. The spoke of what it means to be an “American”; he describes it to be someone “who not only sits at the table but has access to all its food as well” (X 1964). To Malcolm X, the American Dream could not be achieved by Blacks, but only the American Nightmare (X 1964). He argued that because of this Blacks were still not American. His strongest argument was made for the ballot or the bullet. He believed that if the present social and political climate did not change, and if Blacks did not receive voting power that we would have to make a choice to case the bullet to receive these freedoms “by any means necessary” (Umoja 1999).


Malcolm X makes the strong argument that Blacks will not have power unless they fight for their right to vote. This argument is strong because it lit the fire to keep pushing for free and equal suffrage. This speech was meant for all oppressed Black to hear, so that they come together and fight for equal voting rights. I think that his message was conveyed clearly to the African American audiences. He uses a lot of sarcasm throughout his speech which also brought a bit of humor to a serious situation. His analogies used were strong when posed in an “if this or that format”. For example, “the ballot or the bullet”, and “liberty or death” (Umoja 1999).


Malcolm X’s message instilled fear into the American government, and white audiences. This weakened his audience’s attention for change and centered the focus on when African Americans were going to “cast the bullet”. He also uses the term “Uncle Sam” a lot as a reference to the government, which emphasizes the idea that he did not identify as American.


“The Ballot or the Bullet” speech contributed to African American political thought by expressing the idea of Black nationalism to oppressed Black people. This speech sparked political discourse because of the fear of what “by any means necessary” stood for. It also impacted the shift in African American rhetoric in terms of civil rights. This speech also argued for deserved rights and poked through the idea that Blacks were not American.

Works Cited

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

Umoja, Akinyele O. “The ballot and the bullet: A comparative analysis of armed resistance in the civil rights movement.” Journal of Black Studies 29.4 (1999): 558-578.

The Justice And Truth Theme Free Essay

In “The Black Cat,” an alcoholic is brought to the brink of sanity by the debilitating effects of alcoholism. He tortures and kills his cat Pluto.. He’s driven even more insane when he’s followed home by a stray cat that appears almost identical to the Cat he killed, except for a gallows mark on its chest (Poe, n.p). One of the world’s most notorious serial killers, Elias Abuelazam, used a similar strategy one used in The Black Cat, to murder his victims . From the narrative of Black Cat, it is clear that a person can carry out heinous deeds and feel no sorrow for what they have done, just as Elias Abuelazam had no guilt after stabbing five people. This critical essay will analyze the theme of justice and truth in Egar Allen Poe’s The Black Cat and relate it to an article I read about one of the most infamous serial killers, Elias Abuelzam.

Both justice and the truth themes play significant roles in the story of The Black Cat. The narrator tries to hide the truth by encasing his wife’s body, but the black Cat’s voice helps in his capture. “The only movement I made was a sigh of relief. “My heart pounded like a child’s dozing in a peaceful state of slumber (Poe, n.p).” Poe didn’t care if the authorities found his wife, but the fact that he had murdered her was nothing new to him, and he didn’t bother to own his deeds. “I slept even with the burden of murder upon my conscience!” His actions have left him with no feelings of guilt or shame, even after killing and fortifying himself with his wife, getting as peaceful a night’s sleep as possible. Lines like these from “The Black Cat” illustrate the idea that a person can commit evil deeds and not feel bad about it.

Similarly, the Abuelazam trial article depicts a theme of justice and truth, as he delivers justice to the families of those he murdered by confessing to his crime. “Two psychiatrists who testified on the prosecution’s behalf acknowledged that, while Abuelazam possessed an undiagnosed personality disorder and a deficiency of empathy, he showed no remorse for his actions and believed he had done nothing wrong. Abuelazam is unable to accept responsibility for his actions, and instead attempts to explain them by stating that ‘evil spirits’ compelled him to do so (Harris n.p). Abuelazam was unaffected or horrified by the stabbings he committed.

The story of “The Black Cat” and the article on Elias Abuelazam demonstrate that people can do bad things and have no remorse for their acts. After carrying out five racist stabbings, Elias Abelazam had no shock or emotional response to his actions. Like the protagonist in “The Black Cat,” Abelazam was a chronic alcoholic. Serial killers continue to impact people’s lives because of the prevalence of their crimes in modern society. Since serial killers act as emotional lightning rods and society relies on them to keep others safe from their violent impulses. Serial killers give society an outlet to experience the darker side of the human condition that otherwise would not or couldn’t have been considered.

Works Cited

Poe, Edgar Allan. The black cat. Magnard, 2003.

Harris, David. “GUILTY: Flint Serial Killer Elias Abuelazam Convicted by “Mountains of Evidence.”” Mlive, 22 May 2012, www.mlive.com/news/flint/2012/05/elias_abuelazam_verdict.html. Accessed 27 Apr. 2022.

Kansas Personalities Paper Writing Sample

John Brown

Others still see Brown as a fanatic and a terrorist. In an article published in 1883, David N. Utter focused on Brown’s efforts in Kansas. Brown and a small number of supporters kidnapped five men from their homes and killed them in reprisal for a pro-slavery settlers’ raid on an abolitionist stronghold. That deed launched the impassioned preacher on a violent mission, a prelude to his Harpers Ferry raid. With the help of friendly journalists, Brown became a legend as a freedom warrior. He returned to the East in search of abolitionists. “What Brown predicted never happened; there was no revolution, and no enslaved people were emancipated. “Only bad things happened to Kansas,” Utter wrote intext. Brown’s bold activities heightened fears in both the North and the South. The first shots of the deadliest struggle in American history were fired shortly after Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860. Brown has since been credited and accused of inflaming tensions and precipitating the war that eventually freed the enslaved people (Feuerherd, 2016). Nevertheless, the selfless acts of John Brown are beyond doubt that he had a vision beyond his ego or individualistic reasons.

Why Select John Brown in Particular?

John Brown had an unrelenting conviction and believed that he had a course from God. I chose John Brown because none was courageous to die for his beliefs and convictions as John Brown, unlike many Kansas History makers. Such ambition depicts John Brown as selfless, bold, and highly visionary (KSN TV, 2012). However, the controversy surrounding John Brown also serves as motivation to study John Brown as one of the history makers of Kansas. His story is proof that a person on the right side of history could still end up wrong. One would wonder about the inexcusable murders happening because of his convictions, the failed raids, and the subsequent war that followed his activities. The American civil war claimed at least 700000 lives intext. Closing sentence bro

How Did John Brown Contribute to Kansas history?

John Brown led antislavery guerillas in Kansas, following his convictions as the leader of the cruel practice. His selfless acts in bringing the slavery activities in the land to an end earned him the status of harbinger of the future. Unlike many people from Kansas, he represented an embodiment of fear to the people of the South. It was beyond a potent symbol for a white man to be willing to end even with his death. He aggressively acted against the Northern antislavery sentiment.

He fearlessly led violent insurrections against slavery. He appropriated violence for social change and equality. Many African American men and women followed the charismatic John Brown as a freedom fighter, even though it meant possible death for the individuals and their families. The extent of John Brown’s impact is yet to receive due attention. No one has ever wondered how freeborn blacks of Pennsylvania open up their homes to the strange John Brown. Or how they used their church and home pocketbooks to fund John Brown’s moves.

The rise of police brutality in the US has provoked many to think in a way related to John Brown. Some anti-police brutality youths in Kansas have related to the convictions of John Brown. It might be advisable that authorities stay woke, especially when John Brown-related sentiments traverse the youth’s social media. John Brown did not take antislavery with a violent inclination in his lifetime career until the death of Elijah Lovejoy in the free state of Illinois (Brands, 2020). John Brown had started his antislavery career through organizing and campaigning, having joined forces with the abolitionists in New England. The death of the stated abolitionist editor pushed John Brown into a declaration as consecrated to a lifetime of slavery destruction. Every time anti-social events unattended by the government happened in the country, a reflection on John Brown’s steps would get provoked.

How can John Brown’s impact still be seen in Kansas today?

Today, people in Kansas still listen to classical music and songs influenced by John Brown. He has also influenced statues, public murals, and other graphic series. He has remained an admirable symbol of freedom fighter, especially to the black community in Kansas. He is among the most prominent Kansas history makers associated with the America Civil War. After Abraham Lincoln, John Brown is the most studied and pondered individual in American historical course works. Although he is the least commemorated, his legacy is quite undeniable. No state in the United States commemorates John Brown save for the small museums and a Vermont Designation of John Brown Day. Nevertheless, John Brown’s memory is undeniably cherished with admirable veneration. A statue is erected in the former campus of Western University Quindaro ghost town in Kansas City. Another statue in Brown’s honor stands at John Brown Museum in Osawatomie, Kansas City.


In conclusion, it does not matter the sentimental reasons different historical researchers hold for or against John Brown. His mark on Kansas and the country as a whole is undeniable. Although many have argued that his course was right, his ways were wrong, at least his courage delivered something. Therefore, it is only rational to acknowledge his sacrifice and selfless disposition provoked by his deep convictions that gives Kansas a place in the history of antislavery.


Brands, H. (2020). The Problem With Looking for Lessons in the John Brown Story. Time. Retrieved 19 April 2022, from https://time.com/5896684/john-brown-lessons/.

Feuerherd, P. (2016). John Brown: Feared Fanatic or Freedom Fighter? – JSTOR Daily. JSTOR Daily. Retrieved 19 April 2022, from https://daily.jstor.org/john-brown-feared-fanatic-or-freedom-fighter/.

KSN TV. (2012). Kansas People, Kansas History [Video]. Retrieved 19 April 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiG0BMY5AXo.