Civil Rights Leaders
Malcom X and Dr. Martin Luther King were two of the most influential and inspiring leaders during the Civil Rights Movement. Both leaders had methods used to inspire followers, major key events, and strong effects on both religion and political views regarding war. The leader had their own unique way in changing history as we know it, but both had a similar goal in mind. Even though both had a similar goal one had a larger effect on Civil rights movement than the other.
First, comparing both Malcom X and Dr. King isn’t difficult at all. Both leaders had the same goal, same focus, same values, and same self-transformation. Every single civil rights activist had the same goal, to make the rights of African Americans respected and honored and stop the violence against them. Having this as a goal was something difficult to accomplish and they both knew that but continued with strong minds. To accomplish these goals, they had to have a focus, and both had the same one. Their focus was the challenges that black people were facing on an everyday basis and using big movements to pursue their goal. Both Malcom X and Dr. King had a set of values that they followed that were also very similar, “Both were deeply religious, had a global focus on human rights, opposed poverty, capitalism, unjust warfare, police brutality, and white supremacy, had the same militant, radical perspective, had the same fearlessness in the face of threats of violence, and similar styles of leadership.” (Fitzroy, 2018). The majority of both these leaders’ rights were very similar and broad based on basic everyday life issues and beliefs. One last major thing they had in common was their self-transformation, “……..both leaders significantly modified their views over the course of their lives, broadening their scope as they increased their exposure to different ways of thinking. Both were remarkably receptive to the various influences they came under in their lifetimes. And, most notably, they both started to drift towards each others’ ways of thinking as time went on. Ironically (but probably not coincidentally) it was during these periods of self-transformation that the two were assassinated, something else they had in common.” (Fitzroy, 2018). Not only did they have all these aspects in common, but sadly they were both assassinated at the age of 39. Both had very large comparisons.
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Second, although both Malcom X and Dr. King had many things in common, they also differed in many other ways. Some of the differences between these activists were their background, religion, aims, and areas of practice. On background, “Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother, Louise Norton Little, was a homemaker occupied with the family’s eight children. His father, Earl Little, was an outspoken Baptist minister and avid supporter of Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey.”(2018). While “Martin Luther King Jr. was born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. King, a Baptist minister and civil-rights activist, had a seismic impact on race relations in the United States, beginning in the mid-1950s.” (2018). Both came from different areas and had different up bringing’s. Even though they both had a strong religion background their beliefs were different. It was very clear their religion beliefs for one Dr. King was a Christian minister while Malcom X was a Muslim minister. Both were very strong on their religion but believed in different religions. Just like religion, their aims were very different, even though they had the same goal their aim differed greatly. “Dr. King first wanted to eradicate the legal barriers to Black civil rights and integrate Southern society as a way forward for the co-existence of the races, but his later disappointments with whites caused him to shift his focus from integration to broader social justice issues such as anti-poverty and anti-war campaigns. Malcolm X first perceived white society as irredeemably corrupt and to be separated from pending their divine punishment, and for Blacks to learn to love themselves independent of , but later evolved his position to regard white society as governed by immoral values which should eradicated from Black society so as to win their rights from a position of power and moral authority.” (Fitzroy, 2018). Their aims changed over time and drifted apart. Lastly, they had very different areas of practice. While Dr. King was mainly a political activist, Malcom X was mostly a cultural activist. Dr. King would place his though on political leaders to make a change while Malcom X tried to change the view that whites had placed on blacks.
Third, For these leaders to accomplish the goals and aims that they wanted they need to certain methods to inspire people to follow them. A way that Dr. King inspired his followers is by believing in making a change while still maintaining peace and avoiding violence. “Martin Luther King, Jr. embodied outstanding moral qualities such as truth, courage, and justice. The most effective way to peacefully get his message across to the world, in Martin’s mind, was to commit to using nonviolent methods of protest along with perseverance: “King combined Gandhi’s belief that nonviolence was not only the most ethical but also the most effective form of social protest with his own rigorous training in Christian theology, claiming, ‘Christ furnished the spirit and motivation, while Gandhi furnished the method'”” (Lincoln, C. Eric).” (2012). He followed a method that would show that people that he meant no harm and just wanted to share peace and respect for one another. On the other hand, Malcom X used methods that were the opposite of Kings. He considered the nonviolent method that Dr. King used as a sign of weakness towards the whites. “While King advocated non-violent direct action and passive resistance to achieve equal civil rights, Malcolm X was the spokesman for the Nation of Islam (NOI), the black Muslim movement which violently rejected white America and its Christian values, and preached the supremacy of blacks over whites.” (“”Malcolm X And Martin Luther King””). He felt that in order for the whites to get that the blacks weren’t taking it anymore they had to physically show them.
Fourth, both these powerful Civil Rights Activist had separate political views regarding war. During the time of the Vietnam War Dr. King was very much against it. He even delivered a speech that was titled “Beyond Vietnam”, he became very worried about the involvement of the United States in Vietnam which later led to him losing many connections with political officials. Here him and Malcom X shared very similar views.
Fifth, both these men are known for the strong impact they have had on Civil Rights and for the key events they placed while they were alive. In the year 1963, Dr. King organized large marches against segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Led to hundreds of people being arrested including Dr. King himself. Dr. King also won a Noble Prize for the major changes he made. He was well known for forming boycotts, protests and marches. Malcom X was known for leading a group known as the “Black Muslims” and later created a view that can be best understood by the black panther and the Minister Louis Farrakhan.
To summarize, both men had a very big impact on Civil Rights as we know it today. When people think about the history of the Civil Rights Movement the first people that come to mind are them. These men were the foundation of how diverse our society is today, these men fought to at least get as far as we are today. These men’s words and beliefs created a strong background in black lives, and their lives continue to affect lives today. Many look up to them and are motivated by their lives in and out. Today we celebrate their lives and even have a Holiday for Dr. King. They went through many difficult times that eventually paid off, not fully but close. In the future this won’t change their names will forever be taught and celebrated for the strong men that they were.