When Will It Explode?

“No, it was a sellout. It was a takeover . . . They controlled it so tight, they told those Negros what time to hit town, where to stop, what signs to carry, what song to sing, what speech they could make and what speech they couldn’t make, and then told them to get outta town by sundown . . . ”-Malcolm X (458)


The 1950s and 1960s were a very turbulent two decades for a number of reasons, however Zinn asks “-or does it explode” referring to the second civil war that took place across the country. The diversity of perspectives is a motif that Howard Zinn presents in every paragraph. Here, Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I have a dream” speech during the “March on Washington” is experienced from a different angle. Malcolm X expresses the plight of an honest and uncompromising African-American population, following the anti-climatic culmination of their efforts. Zinn includes this testimony to legitimize the claim that: there is more truth to be told. A militant, educated and very angry African consciousness has been omitted from the conversation. Contrary to the broadcasted opinion the “March on Washington” was not unanimously received as a success, but rather the organized circumvention and obstruction of a battle against oppression.