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Martin Luther King Jr. And Malcolm X: Icons For The Civil Rights Movement

990 words - 4 pages

Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were two individuals who not only helped the African-American plight during the Civil Rights Movement, but served as icons to the history of their race. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X grew up in very different environments. King Jr. came from a middle class family where education was a significant value in his home life. Malcolm X, on the other hand, was raised in a foster home after his father’s murder and his mom was put into a mental institution. He was a self-taught individual who did not receive much in the way of a formal education. He grew as a leader with his motivation, intelligence and determination. However, both men were fierce advocates for civil rights and consider their blackness to be a critical component of their identity and their strength.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born into a family whose name was well known. His family was always making sure that their son was safe and happy. Malcolm was raised in a completely different city and environment. His environment was full of fear and anger. This is what made Malcolm such a strong person. The burning of his house by the Ku Klux Klan resulted in the murder of his father, due to his death his mother suffered a mental breakdown and his eight brothers were all split up. From this time on, Malcolm took all of his anger and channeled it as motivation to find revenge. The lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. were significant factors that contributed to the way that each other handled racism in America. Both men became icons of the African American culture and were influential to black Americans.
King had a different way of handling situations. He believed that through positivity and peace he would, someday, achieve full equality with whites. Again, this was due to his childhood and the equality that was demonstrated in his household, his parents kept him safe and happy so he wouldn’t suffer so much. Malcolm X was pessimistic. He thought that equality between white and black people was impossible because whites had no moral conscience. Whereas King’s goal was for whites and blacks to live together in peace, X sought equality through forced acceptance. He believed that if everything was done through force he may be able to cause a revolt in society, allowing blacks a chance to earn their freedom, with muscle not mind. So, while their dreams were delivered in different styles, their purpose was the same.
Malcolm wanted to revolt. He believed that non-violence and integration was a trick from the white man to keep the blacks under control. Trough his speeches, Malcolm X encouraged his followers to rise up and fight for their rights. Due to the childhoods of both of these men they react the way they do. It is sad to learn about how...

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