Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And The Civil Rights Movement

1201 words - 5 pages

During the time period of the 1950s and 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement had a common denominator. That common denominator was activism. Although all credit can not and should not be given to one specific person or group, it is without question that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X played substantial roles in the fight for equality for all mankind. Their approaches in this fight were drastically different but were designed to lead to the same results. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were similar yet different in the ways they were raised, the ways they handled incidents, and their viewpoints on injustices.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) was born into a family of pastors ...view middle of the document...

For example, in King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham jail” he states how he believes battles of injustice should be fought with the law in court instead of with violence in the streets. He feels that there should be consequences for discrimination and injustice but from the law and not from violent acts of citizens.
Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little) was born on February 19th, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska to a homemaker mother and a Baptist preacher father. X’s father, Earl Little, was an activist and supporter of the Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Because of his fathers support, Malcolm X and his family were the constant recipients of violent threats and violent acts from white supremacist. In efforts to escape the threats, Malcolm X’s family was constantly on the move and relocating. Unfortunately, there efforts to escape did not go as planned. In 1929, X’s home was burned to the ground and two years later his father was found dead. It was evident that these were both acts of hate from white supremacist. Although the family plead with law enforcement, no charges were pressed and both incidents were ruled as accidents. Given the nature of these crimes and the lack of consideration from law enforcement, Malcolm X’s mother suffered an emotional breakdown and was committed to a mental institution. As a result, Malcolm and his siblings were separated into different foster homes where they were forced to spend the remainder of their childhoods. Given his rough childhood and his negative experiences of violence being used against him even when he was acting in a nonviolent way, it is understandable that Malcolm X was not a supporter of the nonviolence movement given that his nonviolent ways only led to violence being used against him. Later in life, X was convicted of a crime and thus sent to jail. While in jail, he decided to leave his Baptist roots and convert to the Nation of Islam also known as NOI. The Nation of Islam believed in violence against those who show violence to you. Given his articulate speech and his ability to be concise in his thoughts, the Nation of Islam designated Malcolm X as their new spokesperson. Because of his popularity, the following of this movement increased tremendously from 500 to over 30,000 in a matter of a decade. The teachings of the Nation of Islam focused on the prophet Muhammed and the teachings of the Quran enforced reacting to violence with...

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