“Equality”, that’s what Martin Luther King (MLK) and Malcolm X fought for. They were different from each other, but fighting for the equal rights of African-Americans is what brought them together. They were both African-American activist’s and are the two best known African-American leaders. The reason they were important is because they were major leaders in the Civil Rights movement, but they differed in many ways. For example: early life experiences, role of whites in the Civil Rights movement, integration and violence. MLK and Malcolm X were united for one cause, but they differed greatly from each other.
Martin Luther King and Malcolm X had different early life experiences. MLK had a good time growing up that is why he was more peaceful than Malcolm X was. He lived in a prosperous, but segregated neighborhood and his father was also a minister. MLK became a minister and gave his first sermon at the age of seventeen (Ladenburg, 2007). Being involved with the church made MLK more peaceful. On the other hand, Malcolm X had a rough life growing up, that is why he is much more aggressive. White supremacists burnt Malcolm’s house down, and later killed his father. Malcolm X grew up on the streets where he became a thief and later served a ten year sentence (Ladenburg, 2007). Therefor MLK was peaceful because he was a minister during his late teens. Whereas Malcolm X was more aggressive because he was a thief growing up.
They MLK and Malcolm X saw the role of the whites in the Civil Rights Movement differently. MLK thought that every American was equal and valuable. He also thought that the whites could be trusted. One of his philosophies sated, “The citizenship rights of Negroes cannot be flouted anywhere without impairing the rights of every American” (Ladenburg, 2007, p. 31). This states that he wanted everyone who lived in America to be treated the same. Malcolm X had a totally different idea. He thought that the African-Americans shouldn’t mix with the whites because the whites were untrustworthy and unreliable (Ladenburg, 2007). He stated, “A white man can have you walking backwards thinking you’ll be walking forwards” (Ladenburg, 2007, p. 31). Malcom X had the idea that if white man worked with African-American’s, they would bring them down and cause them to fail. MLK possessed the vision that everyone living in America should be equal, no matter what race they were. But Malcolm X had the opposite opinion. He thought that everyone should be equal, but blacks couldn’t trust or furthermore mix with whites.
Another thing that MLK and Malcolm X differed in was in the...