Comparing Black Panther Party Ten Point Program and Martin Luther King’s “American Dream Speech”
Racism has been extensively spread in the United States since the time of colony. The privileges were given to the white people but denied to others especially to the black people. There were privileges regarding education, rights to voting, land acquisition, and the criminal procedures (Omi and Win, 2016). In contrast, the black people and the oppressed were denied all these privileges due to their color of the skin. For this reason, some movements were formed with the aim to fight for the black people’s rights and freedom (Omi and Winant, 2014). Martin Luther King advocated for the rights of the black people, which he expressed in his American Dream speech. The following study identifies the similarities and differences between two articles that fought for equality and protection of the black people in 20th century USA. Evidently, the American Dream Speech by Martin Luther King and Black Panther’s ‘Ten points Program’ depict various similarities in their advocacy for freedom, the pursuit of happiness, opportunity, and uses of non-violence among blacks.
In the speech by Martin Luther King, he pointed out that with the aim of making a dream a reality, a proper method must be used. He was convinced that a nonviolence method is the best way. He considered that violence is impractical and at the same time immoral towards humankind. For a better America to be built, a method that is as antique as the acumens of Jesus of Nazareth and modern as the techniques of Mohandas Gandhi are to be adopted. Moreover, he shows that Black Americans do not hate or the use of violence. He states that they will stand up before the opponents who are violent is and say, “We will match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering” if need be (King, Jr. 1965). They will meet the opponents’ physical force with soul force whenever necessary. Moreover, he proclaimed that whatever the violent opponents do to them, they will still give them back love. There will be no obedience to the unjust laws even if they will be thrown in jail. Love will still be proclaimed even if the perpetrators attacked the blacks’ communities. The same will happen when their children are threatened when homes are attacked.
Similarly, the seventh point in the “Ten Point Program” points out about violence against the black people. There is the demand of an end to the brutality of the police, as well as the murder of the black people in America, other people of color and the oppressed in America. From the article, the racist’s American government used agencies of domestic enforcement to institute oppression against the black citizens of America (Collective Liberation., n.d.). This led to them defending themselves robustly against the set armed forces and enforcing self-defense of their homes, just like in the American Dream speech. In both of the articles, the issue of violence prevails against the black people and the need to defend themselves against such oppression.
Moreover, the eighth point shows that there is demand for an end to the aggression wars, which stem from the US ruling circle and force of the government on the oppressed. Evidently, the authors warned that the people would defend themselves by any means against the aggressors if the wars were not stopped. This shows a similarity of speaking out against violence and aggression from the opponents in both the “American Dream” speech the ‘Ten Points Program.” The black and oppressed people hoped that such actions would end and America would be a peaceful and conducive place for them to just as the whites (Collective Liberation., n.d.).
Pursuit of happiness
Martin Luther highlighted that all men are created equal and are awarded by the Almighty Creator with various rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Moreover, he pointed out that the opponents may take the freedom from them, but not the right to freedom (King, Jr. 1965). They may rob his desire, the propensity to pursue happiness but they will never take the way the right to seek happiness from him. These words were quoted from Abraham Lincoln that the black people have a right to life, to be liberal and the pursuit of happiness. Similarly, this quote appears in the “Ten Points Program” at the tenth point describing the black people’s need for physiological needs, justice, and peace (Collective Liberation, n.d.). Therefore, the two article are similar as they advocated for the equality that blacks deserved in living a happy life. They both present the right of pursuit of happiness in the articles, which originate from the creator.
Opportunity for Physiological Needs and Education
In the speech, Martin Luther stated that he had a dream that all children will have food, clothes, shelter, and training for the minds. In this way, he hoped that the black children would be given respect just like the white children (King, Jr. 1965). More so, he stated that he expected all men would sit under their vine and will not be afraid, symbolizing the need for shelter. Likewise, the black people demand land, bread, housing, clothing, and education to all in the Ten Points Program (Collective Liberation, n.d.). They also require justice and peace in the community they live. In this case, the need for physiological needs and knowledge is universal in both articles.
In the “Ten points Program,” the black people demand freedom and power to determine their destiny efficiently. They believe that they will not be free until their fates are determined and having control of institutions in their society. Likewise, Martin predicted that they would be victorious one in freedom for not only themselves but also their descendants. He does this by appealing to the oppressive government (King, Jr. 1965). In this way, the result will be a double victory for the black people living in the United States. The quest for freedom is a concept present in both of the articles.
In the ‘Ten Points Program,’ the black people need full employment and believe that the government is entirely responsible for offering jobs to all citizens despite their race. They believe that people in business will also provide employment and this will provide high standards of living to the black and oppressed people. Moreover, Martin Luther King spoke of the opportunity for employment. He pointed out that the black people should be given jobs and money so that they can survive and educate their children (King, Jr. 1965). He encourages the people to join forces against poverty through lack of employment in the United States.
Differences between the Two Articles
Some distinctions can be seen from between the two articles. Doe instance, Martin Luther King stated that they would reciprocate the violence and aggression against them with love. When their homes are attacked, their children are threatened, they will still show love to the opponents (King, Jr. 1965). This contrasts the ‘Ten Point Program,” approach the black people promised to defend themselves against such brutality by the police. They would be fully armed for self-defense for the safety of their homes and community against the brutal and violent police. Moreover, it posits that the black and oppressed people have a right to defend themselves too against such aggression if the aggressive wars do not cease (Ullucci, 2006).
Additionally, the ‘Ten Points Program’ article shows that the black and oppressed people demand freedom for all their people held in jail. They require fair trials and freedom from incarceration. There should be freedom from imprisonment while awaiting trial. In contrast, Martin Luther King stated in his speech that they would go to the jails and turn them from the dungeons that they are to harbors of freedom and dignity (King, Jr. 1965). The divergence in this concept is that one article demands freedom of all the black people in jail while the speech accepts to go to the same prisons and make a transformation.
Overall, it is evident that the “Ten Points Program” and Martin Luther American Dream speech bear similarities on how they approach the need for equality in the United States. This can be seen from their approach to equal opportunity, the pursuit of happiness, freedom, and violence concepts. Obviously, the articles have more similarities than differences in the way they advocate for the rights and freedom of the black and oppressed individuals in the United States of America. Racism is still a challenge in the United States, and the government is expected to play a critical role in ensuring that the vice is eliminated.
Collective Liberation. (n.d.). The Black Panthers: Ten Point Program. Collective Liberation. Retrieved Apr. 22, 2018 from https://collectiveliberation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/BPP_Ten_Point_Program.pdf
King, Jr. M. L. (1965). “The American Dream,” Sermon Delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Stanford University. Retrieved Apr. 22, 2018 from https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/american-dream-sermon-delivered-ebenezer-baptist-church
Omi, M., & Win Ansell, A. E. (2016). New right, new racism: Race and reaction in the United States and Britain. Springer.
Omi, M., & Winant, H. (2014). Racial formation in the United States. Routledge. Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States. Urban Education, 41(5), 533-540.
Ullucci, K. (2006). Book Review: Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States. Urban Education, 41(5), 533-540.