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Malcolm X Vs Martin Luther King Jr

1802 words - 7 pages

In looking at how the actions of two of the Blount curriculum’s selected writers influenced historical change, progress, and thought I chose to focus on their respective views of race and race relations, in particular the Civil Rights Movement. I chose to write on the two diametrically opposed civil rights activists Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. In the 1960’s the African American community became increasingly active in the struggle for civil rights. Although the concept race is an arbitrary societal construct based on the color of an individual’s skin and his or her geographic origin, it has had a profound impact not only on the founding and formation of our country but also the development modern American society. King and Malcolm X are two powerful men in particular who brought the hope of acceptance and equality to African Americans in the United States. Both preached messages about Blacks having power and strength in the midst of all the hatred that surrounded them. Even though they shared the same dream of equality for their people, the tactics they implied to make those dreams a reality were very different. The background, environment and philosophy of King and Malcolm X were largely responsible for the distinctly varying responses to American racism.
The initial phase of the Civil Rights Movement began in 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white male passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. The incident was the catalyst for a major boycott of the area bus company from the Black community, which was lead by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King and his supporters continued the boycott for more than a year. As a result of his leadership skills, King gained national prominence and recognition for his exceptional oration and courage. He traveled to West Africa and India in order to better understand Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of non-violence. Following the non-violent principles of Gandhi, King ignited hope into the eyes of thousands of African Americans for equal rights. Early in his career he realized that non-violent protest was the most efficient way of achieving his goal. He stated that: "I had come to see early that the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of non-violence was one of the most potent weapons available to the Negro in his struggle for freedom." In seeking to continue and expand the non-violent struggle against discrimination, King, along with other Black ministers, set up the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. As a result of his consistent commitment to nonviolence, black college students began to launch a series of sit-ins at lunch counters and public places where segregation was existent (King 39).
The turning point in King’s career came in 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama. The SCLC launched a major demonstration to protest anti-Black attitudes in the South. Confrontations ensued between unarmed Black demonstrators and Birmingham police and firemen who used clubs,...

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