20th Century and The Ballot or the Bulle Speech Comparison Essay

Comparison Essay:

20th Century and a song (from 1960 to the present)

For this assignment, I would like you to COMPARE one of the works that we have studied, from the 20th century, with song lyrics. Additionally, I would like you to address the impact thatboth writers (song writer and twentieth century activist) words have had on American society; you may include successes, quotes, or causes of which the writers have been involved.

Sample: You could rely on Beyonce Knowles song, Freedom. Beyonce’s lyrics ask, “Freedom! Freedom! Where are you? Cause I need freedom too!” She addresses the need for equality in American society, a request that she feels is being ignored.

This is one way that you can approach your 3-5 page assignment:

Introductory Paragraph:

First sentence: quote from one of your authors

Second sentence: identify one of the readings from the text, and describe how it influenced social attitudes.

Third sentence: then identify a contemporary (1960-present day) song, and how it influenced or influences the American perspective.

Fourth sentence: acknowledge that both writers recognize their purpose as being spokespeople for political awareness (be specific here).

Fifth sentence: THESIS—MOST IMPORTANT SENTENCE IN YOUR ESSAY! Here is a sample: Both Malcolm X and Knowles chose/have chosen, to provoke social change through their words; their voices have addressed similar concerns regarding freedom and equality.

Second Paragraph:

Sample: Discuss Malcolm X’s Ballot or the Bullet. Select quotes from his speech that address the problems of the time. Provide a quote and then explain its meaning and purpose.

Third Paragraph:

Sample: Just as Malcolm X challenges society to re-evaluate its attitude towards racism, so too does Knowles’ in her song, Freedom. Then provide quote(s) from the song that illustrate how she provokes social awareness.

Fourth Paragraph:

Sample: Use this paragraph to show the similarity between the two works. Perhaps you could use a line from Malcolm X’s speech and juxtapose it with Knowles’ song lyrics. Finish this paragraph by acknowledging how the two illuminate certain inequalities found within American society.

Fifth Paragraph:

Sample: It was not only Malcolm X’s words which audiences found inspiring, but the way he lived his life as well. You could use examples like the fact that he instituted a breakfast program for school children or that he instrumental in including African American history in the educational system. You could also explain the impact he had on large audiences to enlighten them about the horrors of racism and the need for rights for Black Americans.

Sixth Paragraph:

Sample: Just as Malcolm X spent his life provoking social awareness, so too does Beyoncé Knowles. Then provide examples of how she has made it a priority in her life to educate others on women’s rights and attitudes towards African Americans.

Concluding Paragraph:

Sample: Although separated by over fifty years, both Malcolm X and Knowles have lived lives that challenge social conventions, and encourage society to examine the inequalities that pervade the United States. Explain how these individuals and their works have provoked social change.


You must remember to use in-text citation and a references page with double spaced, hanging indentions. I will ask for a re-submission if you neglect to have your essay in APA formatting.

Do NOT use I, you, we, or our

Do NOT use contractions, such as isn’t, can’t aren’t, etc.

Here are the works that you may use from the 19th century; choose one:

W.E.B. DuBois Souls of Black Folks

Martin Luther King Letter from Birmingham Jail

Martin Luther King I have a Dream

Malcolm X Ballot or the Bullet