Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X
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Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X
During the 1950's and 60's African Americans became very active in their struggle for civil rights. These movements were born because many people shared the belief that things must change. But every great movement needs a leader. Often, it takes a single person to shape a clear vision of how the world can be changed. Liberal African American leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. fought for equality among black and whites to finally abolish segregation. Another group against racism and segregation were the people of the "Nation of Islam." This radical group was lead by Malcolm X. And yet, there are many similarities and differences between the two civil rights leaders, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
One of the worlds best known speakers of non-violent social change was Martin Luther King Jr. His roots were in the African-American Baptist Church. He greatly admired black social gospel and saw the church as a method for improving the lives of African Americans. King was raised in a middle-class family of the South; he also went to college and got his Ph.D. As a Baptist minister, his major concerns were non-violence and to gain full rights for the African Americans. He also spoke with non-violent words and was a supporter of non-violent resistance, but not of self -defense. King had to be moderate because the civil rights movement was supported and financed by many whites. Malcolm X, another great civil rights leader of this time, is also memorable. Malcolm emerged from the black underclass in the northern ghettos to become a leader for the poor blacks by following the techniques of his belief in the Islamic culture and holding on to black nationalism. Malcolm first knew where his future was going when he was in prison. When he got out, Malcolm demanded justice and that African Americans should be respected as human beings. Therefore, he thought blacks first had to love themselves and build up to their self -awareness before they fought for their rights. Malcolm X gathered huge crowds of black people and convinced them in persuasive speeches that all whites were evil. A TV network once did a show about the Nation, called " The Hate that Hate Produced." Millions of people saw and heard Malcolm X call the whites the "white devil." He became one of the most popular African-American leaders, even though he was lied to by his leader Muhammad. His popularity did not decrease just because the betrayal and anger Malcolm felt towards Muhammad. Malcolm once said, " Our hope for creative living in this world house that we have inherited lies in personal character and social justice". ( Encarta 96) Malcolm always spoke bitterly during his speeches and warned white Americans of outbursts of violence in a tone that shocked most people. For example, Malcolm's slogan was "by any means necessary" when speaking to America. That meant that Malcolm was prepared to destroy any thing that got in his way of getting what he wanted. Malcolm even started a newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, to help spread his ideas that were mostly violent. Malcolm wished to integrate into the American society, but he thought the best way was to get the point across violently.
King wanted exploitation, discrimination and racism to end. King was a respected minister and an established leader of the African America people. He was also an African American who was discriminated against because of his race. King went through many changes, criticism and humility. He loved his family and totally devoted himself to his movement and his church, so he was away from home a lot practicing what he preached. King urged African Americans to become active by joining organizations and registering to vote. And yet, he knew that the capitalist system of the U.S only helped the rich to become richer by exploiting the poor. Therefore, he was interested in reforming the American political economy to abolish black poverty and discrimination. Malcolm X was similar to King in many ways. Malcolm also was a great leader of the civil rights movement. Malcolm wanted discrimination and segregation to end. Malcolm had always suffered because of his red hair and was one of the few who married a woman who had
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Community organizing, African-American Muslims, English-language films, Counterculture of the 1960s, Malcolm X, Racism in the United States, Betty Shabazz, African-American Civil Rights Movement, Coretta Scott King, Black nationalism, Martin Luther King, Jr., Yolanda King
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