BHSU professor compares speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X in public lecture

Author: BHSU Communications/Friday, January 30, 2015/Categories: 2015








           Dr. Adam Gaffey, assistant professor of speech at BHSU, will present a lecture on the arguments of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X&rsquos speeches about equality as part of the Geek Speak lecture series during Black History Month.  Gaffey&rsquos lecture will be held Feb. 5 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall 110 on the BHSU campus.



Black Hills State University commemorates Black History Month with a public lecture on Thursday, Feb. 5 titled, "The Rhetoric of Equality:  Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Arguments on Civil Rights."  The lecture, part of the Geek Speak series, begins at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall Room 110.

Dr. Adam Gaffey, assistant professor of speech at BHSU who will present the lecture, says studying King and Malcolm X at the same time reveals details one wouldn&rsquot necessarily notice when looking at their prominent speeches independently.

"One of the reasons I like to put King and Malcolm X together in both the classroom and in this Geek Speak lecture is that we tend to summarize the civil rights movement into one thing, rather than seeing the movement as a longer dialogue and debate amongst leaders who didn&rsquot always see eye-to-eye," said


In his lecture, Gaffey will explore King&rsquos 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech and X&rsquos 1964 "The Ballot or the Bullet" address.  Gaffey says both King and X talk about "equality."  Yet, the meaning behind the word differs with King referencing integration and X suggesting a doctrine of Black Nationalism.  

"When we talk about Black History Month or civil rights, we should remember that this was not settled," said Gaffey.  "The idea that King has a dream and that the civil rights movement and acts of Congress that followed fulfilled that dream diminishes the tension and contrast taking place before we arrived at that point in history."  

Gaffey says comparing King and X&rsquos speeches side-by-side provides a meaningful, inspirational example of how people can advocate for change.

"We sometimes have a false belief that there&rsquos one right answer waiting to be discovered," says Gaffey.  "But the civil rights movement and those debates tell us something different.  There are many possibilities towards change that we might not consider right away."

The Geek Speak lecture series, sponsored by the BHSU University Honors program, features academic discussion and topics not normally discussed in the traditional classroom.  The goal of the weekly lectures is to expose students to diversity within the disciplines.

For more information on Geek Speak, contact Dr. Courtney Huse-Wika, director of University Honors and assistant professor of English at BHSU, at or 605-642-6918.

Upcoming Geek Speak topics include:

Feb. 12: Desy Schoenewies: "Hands Up Don't Shoot: Boiling Points of Tension in Ferguson, Missouri"

Feb. 19: Dr. Nick Wallerstein: "The Sound (and a Bit of Sense) of Poetry from Ancient Times to the Present"

Feb. 26: Dr. Tom Arnold: "Butchers, Buffoons, and 'Basterds': Nazis in Popular Culture"

March 5: Dr. Chris Hahn and Professor Kelly Kirk: "On Black Politic Music of the 1970s"

March 19: Dr. William Cockrell: "On Gender and Gaming"

March 26: Dr. David Cremean: "Breaking Bad and the Inexhaustibility of Extreme Methaphor"

April 9: Dr. Dan May: "&ltInsert Relevant Song Title Here&gt:  The Rise and Fall of American Alternative Rock"

April 16: Dr. Aris Karagiorgakis: "The Truth is in Here: Why 12 Million Americans Believe Lizard People Run the Country (and other "crazy" conspiracies)"

April 23: John Ginther: "On Game of Thrones"

April 30: Dr. Dave Berberick: "On the History of Heavy Metal"

May 5 and May 7: The Defense (Capstone defense for University Honors seniors)

Number of views (512)/Comments (0)