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Martin Luther Kings Jr. And Malcolm X

2207 words - 9 pages

Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X grew up in different environments. King was raised in a comfortable middle-class family where education was stressed. On the other hand, Malcolm X came from and underprivileged home. He was a self-taught man who received little schooling and rose to greatness on his own intelligence and determination. Martin Luther King was born into a family whose name in Atlanta was well established. Despite segregation, Martin Luther King's parents ensured that their child was secure and happy.Malcolm X was born on May 19, 1925 and was raised in a completely different atmosphere than King, an atmosphere of fear and anger where the seeds of bitterness were planted. The burning of his house by the Ku Klux Klan resulted in the murder of his father. His mother later suffered a nervous breakdown and his family was split up. He was haunted by this early nightmare for most of his life. From then on, he was driven by hatred and a desire for revenge.The early backgrounds of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King were largely responsible for the distinct different responses to American racism. Both men ultimately became towering icons of contemporary African-American culture and had a great influence on black Americans. However, King had a more positive attitude than Malcolm X, believing that through peaceful demonstrations and arguments, blacks will be able to someday achieve full equality with whites. Malcolm X's despair about life was reflected in his angry, pessimistic belief that equality is impossible because whites have no moral conscience. King basically adopted on an integrationalist philosophy, whereby he felt that blacks and whites should be united and live together in peace. Malcolm X, however, promoted nationalist and separatist doctrines. For most of his life, he believed that only through revolution and force could blacks attain their rightful place in society.Both X and King spread their message through powerful, hard-hitting speeches. Nevertheless, their intentions were delivered in different styles and purposes. "King was basically a peaceful leader who urged non-violence to his followers. He travelled about the country giving speeches that inspired black and white listeners to work together for racial harmony." (pg. 135, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Freedom Movement) Malcolm X, for the most part, believed that non-violence and integration was a trick by the whites to keep blacks in their places. He was furious at white racism and encouraged his followers through his speeches to rise up and protest against their white enemies. After Malcolm X broke away from Elijah Mohammed, this change is reflected in his more moderate speeches. Malcolm X and Martin Luther King's childhoods had powerful influences on the men and their speeches.Malcolm X was brought up in an atmosphere of violence. During his childhood, Malcolm X suffered not only from abuse by whites, but also from domestic violence. His father beat his mother and both...

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