Martin Luther King, Jr. was an angry young man who hated the segregated world of the American South and the injustices he saw inflicted on African Americans all over the nation. In adulthood he came to feel that anger offered no solution to the problems that he and other African Americans faced. What made him changed his mind? What were the roots of the philosophy that he adopted and used to land the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s? How did King give Americans a sense of self-worth and the tools to achieve their aims?
- What were SNCC and SCLC? How did these organizations differ from each other? In what ways were they alike? What changes took place in SNCC after the mid 1960’s? How did Black Power differ from civil right movement under King?
- What were the two accomplishments of civil right of the mid-1960’s?What specific action did King and his followers undertake to influence public opinion and effect legislative changes and at what cost?
- Describe the internal and external difficulties that beser King and the civil right movement in the late 1960’s. How did King defuse charges that he was a Communist? How did he react to the FBI crusade against him? To white and black backlashes? To the attacks on his policies that seemed to come from all sides? What did his support of the anti-Vietnam war movement cost him?
- Why do you think Americans were receptive to King’s pacific message and nonviolent approach in the 1960’s? Do you think similar tactics would be effective against oppression in a country such as the People’s Republic of China?
- What do you think of Erik Erikson’s psychological model and Lawrence Goodheart use of it in this selection? Explain your reason.
- Discuss Malcolm X’s evolving racial feeling about himself in particular about whites and African Americans in general.How were they influenced by his childhood experiences, his life in the ghetto, and his experiences with the Islamic movement? What effect did education have on his views?
- According to Goodheart “the shaping of Malcolm’s sense of self as a counterpart to the historical oppression of African Americans constitutes a central theme in his life”. In what way do you think his personal feelings reflected those in a large community? Compare his appeal of that of Martin Luther King Jr., about whom you read in the last selection. Why do you think Malcolm X have a continued appeal? What does that say about racial relations in the Untied States since the death of Malcolm X?