Back in the 1960’s African-Americans were inferior to the white people. White people had the control over black people. People started taking actions against it. The black people now wanted equal rights since they were born here and had the citizenship, and all rights to stay in the United States. People were very racist and didn’t considered black people as normal human beings. For every attempt of expressing their desire and need for equality, all efforts were shot down. There was no unity, no one to rally the hearts and minds of blacks and whites alike. But then a preacher from Montgomery Alabama leaded the largest civil rights movement. Through the gentle voice and outstanding personality, Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the strongest and most influential civil rights activists. But he was not the only one to work inequality for African-Americans, there were others fighting for the same cause. One of the other most famous activists was Malcolm X; a converted Muslim from Harlem, New York.
Both were similar to each other but at the same time different in many ways. Malcolm was a man who spoke of a violent revolution because he thought it would bring racial change for the black race. He was a dark charisma, an angry, implacable man whose goodwill or forgiveness or even pity the white race could neither earn nor buy. He viewed white supremacists as enemies. He says that whites were inherently enemies of the Negroes. In his speeches he is talking about them, and how they hired people to break into black people’s houses and kill them. Malcolm X is not asking blacks to beg for equality and ask to end segregation, he’s saying that they should unite together and fight against their enemies. He also makes a point that they don’t hang you because you are Christian, Jew, Muslim. They hang you because you are black.
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Considering that, he wants the blacks to take action against it, and overcome this problem. “Anything you can think of that you want to change right now, the only way you can do it is with a ballot or a bullet. And if you’re not ready to get involved with either one of those, you are satisfied with the status quo. This means that we’ll have to change you” (Malcolm X). He also doesn’t like the theories of Martin Luther King Jr., and others to blend in with the white culture because he says they are a dangerous bunch of lies. They are being polite. When Malcolm X was young, he was involved in all types of crimes. He was arrested and convicted on burglary charges. Malcolm was very, very influenced by Elijah Mohammad. His teachings allowed Malcolm to accept Islam as his religion.
“I have a dream, a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed… that all men are created equal” (Martin Luther King). Martin Luther King was born in Atlanta, Georgia, son of Martin Luther King, Sr., a Baptist minister. He was a very educated man and had a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1948, unlike Malcolm X who didn’t have a good education. In 1955, King went to Boston University where he earned a doctoral degree in theology. Whereas King was full of love, respect and compassion for his fellow white brothers, Malcolm X was full of hate, anger and revenge.
King’s speech was also concerning the freedom and the relief from the oppression of black people like X’s. In his “I Have a Dream” speech in front of near 200 thousand men, he asks them for their constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He also assures that there would be no break until the blacks are granted and given civil rights. All King wanted was, and struggled for was his constitutional rights for him and everyone across the world.
Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X shared the same dream. A dream of freedom, equal rights and the bondage of prejudice and racism would vanish. They both didn’t see what they wanted in front of their eyes but hoped that their preaching would help the future generation.
So by comparing the ideas and lives of these two legends, we can see they both shared the same ideas. But theories and philosophies by which they achieved were nowhere near the same.
King wanted to have a peaceful protest, to awake the public who has been sleeping, white or black; whereas Malcolm X wanted to see change, and he wanted to see it right now. He believed that violence could be used if necessary to change the lifestyle around him for the better. Malcolm X and Martin Luther King changed the world and are considered the best heroes of all time.
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