“Nothing but a circus, with clowns and all…”

“It ceased to be angry, it ceased to be hot, it ceased to be uncompromising. Why, it even ceased to be a march. It became a picnic, a circus. Nothing but a circus, with clowns and all. . .”

“…they told those Negroes 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 out of town by sundown….”

-Malcolm X


Zinn uses these quotes to show how different Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.’s ideologies were. King thought the march was still a success, or at least a step in the right direction, even when he had to follow rules set by white people. Which Malcolm X completely shuts down, saying that this was just another example of black submission to white government. Malcolm believed a fight like this had to be fought hard and with passion, and emotion, and most importantly, without submission. Without passion, and anger, the march was a joke, completely pointless. Malcolm believed King completely gave up the fight by obliging by the rules of the people responsible for segregation. Zinn’s use of direct quotes helps him paint the picture of the different characters of both men. King, was very calm and patient; while Malcolm X was very angry, opinionated, and passionate.