Philosophies And Tactics Of Dr. King And Malcolm X

1450 words - 6 pages

During the mid-1900s, the Civil Rights Movement was a crucial part of the United States’ growth. Many men and women both black and white contributed to the development of rights for African Americans and other minorities. Among them, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X had an everlasting effect on the treatment of minorities in the United States. Although their philosophies and tactics differed greatly, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X helped shape the Civil Rights Movement and make the United States a better place for people regardless of their race.
Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X had different beliefs and goals for the Civil Rights Movement. While Martin Luther King Jr. took a more peaceful position, Malcolm X could best be described as militant, not working toward integration like Dr. King, but instead trying to segregate black and white society. Martin Luther King’s more peaceful views were shaped by his Christian upbringing; his father was a Southern Baptist minister. As he grew up and came into his own, Gandhi and his methods of peaceful protest increasingly influenced Dr. King. In addition to Gandhi, the church, Jesus Christ, and Howard Thurman (a prominent civil rights leader who was friend and mentor to Dr. King) shaped some of King’s ideas. From Gandhi, King developed his mentality regarding nonviolent disobedience. While studying in Pennsylvania, he became inspired by how successful Gandhi had been in his protest against the British rule in India. The church and Jesus Christ also offered King inspiration. Not only did growing up the son of a minister help him become one himself, but the idea of “loving [his] neighbor as [himself]” encouraged King to use a more peaceful, brotherly approach in dealing with the racial injustice that he encountered. Lastly, Howard Thurman had a more personal influence on King. From Thurman, King developed his mentality regarding the power religion and peace could have in the fight against segregation. Thurman’s actions, words, and book Jesus and the Disinherited all had a weighty influence on King. Thurman helped blend Christianity, social justice, and Gandhi’s nonviolent protest in a manner that helped shape King’s tactics against segregation and social injustice. Unlike King, Malcolm X did not start out with a religious base. He did not come upon the Nation of Islam until he entered prison in the late 1940s. Despite encountering religion a bit later in life, the Nation of Islam had a substantial influence on his beliefs until he left it in 1964. From the Nation of Islam he gained the mentality that black people were the original race of the world and that blacks were superior to whites. This mentality began the Black Power Movement throughout the sixties and the seventies. Some blacks began to believe that their separation from society was fine as long as they were treated equally. Others held the belief that there was no place for them as a minority in the white-run American society and...

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