The Ku Klux Klan was an institution built upon racial injustice and employing the tools of intimidation; axe-handles, white sheets and lynch mobs. It had evolved from a group of six Confederate veterans in Tennessee who formed a social club in 1965, but gradually began to use their ceremonial practices to intimidate superstitious black slaves, especially after slave liberation came at the end of the Civil War. Conversely, Martin Luther King's "dream" was a call for unity and non-violent action. "From every mountainside," the world he envisaged was one where "black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands... free at last."
Malcolm X believed these reforms weren't being passed quickly enough, and in 1965 he led a protest in Alabama, where blacks outnumbered whites by six to four, but only 6 per cent of black people were eligible to vote. On 21 February, Malcolm X was shot dead. But people carried on marching for change, with his words ringing in their ears.Reuse content