1963 was a pivotal year for the civil rights movements during the 1960s. Contrary to President Kennedy’s idea of the integration of African-Americans, Dixiecrats had reacted aggressively to the Birmingham Campaign. Democratic Governor of Alabama, George Wallace, in an attempt to prevent two black students from enrolling in the University of Alabama, was confronted by the federalized Alabama National Guard on June 11, 1963. This incident compelled John F. Kennedy to officially address the issue of civil rights for African-Americans on the very same day. In his “Civil Rights Address”, John F. Kennedy frequently appeals to history to warn white Americans of the danger of ignoring African-Americans’ right to equal treatment, motivates the nation to work towards desegregation and equality, and establishes the logical foundation of his argument.
Kennedy implicitly compares the legalized segregation in the South to the problematic caste system in India and the systematic genocide of Jews during World War II to warn white Americans to not repeat the mistake. His message is delivered in an ironic way through a series of rhetorical questions, asking white Americans whether they truly believe the United States of America to be “the land of the free” (para. 9) that has “no class or caste system, no ghettos, no master race except with respect...
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... warning white Americans of the possible disastrous consequences of discrimination, persuading his audience to embrace equality, and giving his argument a logical foundation. This speech accelerates equality for African-Americans and paves the way to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which enforced African-Americans’ right to vote and ended racial discrimination in public accommodations. The United States presidential election of 2008 was a remarkable achievement in the process of realizing equality and the integration of African-Americans. In fact, 43 percent of the white population voted for Barack Obama, corroborating the progress the United States has made in truly becoming the United States, achieving national unity. Desegregation in the United States takes a long time, but President Kennedy’s speech in 1963 certainly gave an impactful push.
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