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Comparing Letter From Birmingham Jail And Maya Angelous A Homemade Education Essay

“Permanence, Perseverance, and Persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements and impossibilities: it is this that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak. ” A quotation from Thomas Carlyle of which is supportive in making the statement that Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr. , and Malcolm X are all persistent. Maya Angelou’s “Graduation,” chronicles an early stage in her life where she sought educational fulfillment, while facing the challenges that came along with white supremacy.

Malcolm X’s “A Homemade Education” not only gives insight into how and why he learned to read and write, but also into how he gained his worldly views through his reading. Martin Luther King Jr. ‘s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” conveys his message of encouragement to stand up and fight for civil rights to the religious leaders. Angelou, King Jr. , and Malcolm X as examples all support the notion of that “the most essential factor is persistence” it is a quality all three of them possessed and in spite of their adversities, all three of them procured their goals without being deterred.

Angelou and Malcolm X, who both had similar goals to achieve educational fulfillment had different situations of which could be perceived as different levels of determination or persistence however they both had people who were able to influence them to get on their feet and continue on, thus the reason they are both persistent. In “A Homemade Education”, Malcolm X admits his frustration about his inability to express himself the way he’d like to.

It can be said that Malcolm X was discouraged as he mentioned that he “wasn’t even functional” (Malcolm X 134) and though he did feel this way he turned the negative feelings into something to strive for. In the Charlestown prison Malcolm X was in there was another inmate named Bimbi who he envied because of his ability to use words and his knowledge. Malcolm X’s envy of Bimbi drove and inspired him to seek and ultimately further his own education in a sense in deciding to read and copy out of the dictionary.

Malcolm X gained a hunger for the knowledge he was obtaining as exemplified in the following quotation: “I could for the first time pick up a book and read and now begin to understand what the book was saying… in every free moment I had, if I was not reading in the library, I was reading in my bunk… In fact, up to then, I never had been so truly free in my life. ” (Malcolm X 135). Malcolm X used his time as way to learn everything he possibly could so that he wouldn’t have to be envious of the knowledge someone else possessed.

In Maya Angelou’s “Graduation”, Angelou also showed her discouragement by the words of Edward Donleavy at her graduation who told the congregation of how many more opportunities whites had over blacks. Angelou’s graduation was an occasion that had so many excited because they had worked so hard to accomplish the feat of gaining an education and they were also excited for what their future had in store for them; however, many of them including Angelou felt in the moment that those hopes and dreams were taken away from them by Donleavy.

Donleavy had basically told them that they wouldn’t be anything but “maids and farmers, handymen and washerwomen” (Angelou 85) and that basically all of their hard work and dreams were for nothing. However the class valedictorian, Henry Reed, was able to uplift and inspire the crowd despite the discouraging words by Donleavy as exemplified in the following quotation: “We were on top again. As always, again. We survived. The depths had been icy and dark, but now the bright sun spoke to our souls. I as no longer simply a member of the proud graduating class of 1940; I was a proud member of the wonderful, beautiful Negro race. ” (Angelou 87). Despite their different circumstances both Malcolm X and Maya Angelou overcame their obstacles clearly showing their persistence though they may have had the aid of inspiration they both achieved their goals, thus supporting the notion that persistence is the most essential factor. Angelou and King Jr. , were both dedicated in their respective efforts to achieve their goals and didn’t allow anyone to deter them thus the reason they are persistent.

Maya Angelou took her education seriously and aimed really high with all of her endeavors, never settling for mediocrity. As exemplified in the text: ” my work alone had awarded me a top place and I was going to be one of the first called in the graduation ceremonies… No absences, no tardinesses, and my academic work was among the best of the year. ” (Angelou 79). Angelou had work extremely hard in her pursuit to gaining her education and ultimately graduating.

King Jr. Had the same drive as Angelou but in his respective pursuit to encourage the religious leaders to stand up for the civil rights. King jr. believed in the non-violent approach of protesting and wanted to convince them of his methods by using his experience to show them the effectiveness of his approach. Also King jr. was alerting them of what is right he let them know that the people deserved to be fought for and that civil rights were a necessity as exemplified ir the following quotation: “We have waited more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights… reedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. ” (King Jr. 467).

Through his letter King Jr. expressed his determination to build up to equality by giving examples and logic to help his audience understand where he was coming from. King Jr. Wrote: “a law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. ” (King Jr. 469). King Jr. ‘s efforts to convince his audience prove his dedication and persistence.

King Jr. And Malcolm X are similar in that they were both went through extenuating situations in order to achieve what they wanted to achieve. Malcolm X went to extreme lengths to achieve educational fulfillment, first committing himself to copying from and reading the entire dictionary to sneaking around in prison to read. In his essay Malcolm X conveys that he would read after lights out and with the excess light coming from a corridor. He states that: “at one-hour intervals the night guards paced past every room.

Each time I heard the approaching footsteps, I jumped into bed and feigned sleep. And as soon as the guard passed, I got back out of bed onto the floor area of that light glow, where I could read for another fiftyeight minutes. “(Malcolm X 137). Malcolm X went above and beyond in order to obtain the knowledge he sought. Likewise King Jr. also took measures to achieve what he wanted by breaking laws, creating tension with non-violent actions and ultimately ending up in jail where he wrote his letter. King Jr.

Believed that nothing would come from the silence of good people so he chose to stand up help others stand up as well as exemplified in the following quotation:” human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. ” (King Jr. 473). King Jr. Used this statement to convince religious leaders that they had to do something or else they would basically be aiding the enemy or downfall of the citizens.

He went further to state that: “I am thankful, however that some of our white brothers in the south have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. “(King Jr. 473). This statement being made by King Jr. is almost him trying to say well there are people that have jumped on board to do what is right to convince those who haven’t that they needed to. Though they are in two totally different places their persistence to attain their goals are abundantly clear.

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