Martin Luther King Jr Vs Malcolm X

.. phy as the basis for black survival,” (Internet, Malcolm X anniversary). He even believed at one time that whites were agents of the devil. As a result, “Malcolm X recommended a separatist and nationalist strategy for black survival,” (pg. 57, Malcolm X: The man and his times) He believed that only through violence would conditions change.

He saw no evidence that white society had any moral conscience and promoted the role of the angry black against racist America. King’s philosophies presented a sharp contrast to those of Malcolm X. He believed that through hard work, strong leadership, and non-violent tactics, blacks could achieve full equality with whites. His belief in non-violence even extended to a woman who nearly killed him. He was reported as saying, “don’t persecute her, get her healed,” (pg.

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52, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Freedom Movement). Near the end of their lives, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X’s beliefs became more similar. Malcolm X corrected himself after his break with the black Muslim movement. He now emphasised unity and change through black pride and respect for oneself rather than through hate and revenge.

King, on the other hand, became somewhat angry at the lack of progress made on equality. He started promoting non-violent sabotage, which including blocking the normal functioning of government. At one time, Malcolm X actually wanted “to join forces with King and the progressive elements of the Civil Rights Movement,” (pg. 262, Malcolm X: The man and his times). To many, King and Malcolm X were heroes of the Civil Rights Movement.

However, many have also seen that King was more pessimistic, while Malcolm X was more optimistic about separatism for most of his life. Some have said that later on in their lives, they had taken the opposite roles and changed. The speeches of King and X reflected both men’s visions on improving America. Both men believed that if blacks were to attain freedom, they first needed to achieve self-respect. However, Malcolm X’s speeches were delivered in a revolutionary tone which could incite his listeners to hatred of white America. Malcolm X used direct and to the point language which could be understood by all levels of society.

“He had mastery in language and could project his ideas,” (Internet, Remember Malcolm X) This creativity in language helped build the Black Muslim Movement in the United States. In his “Definition of a Revolution” speech, delivered in November 1963, Malcolm X openly justifies violence as a way of gaining equality. “And if it is right for America to draft us and teach us how to be violent in defence of the country, then isn’t it right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country,” (pg. 253, Malcolm X: The man and his times). He encouraged blacks to hate white America and to revolt against them. “Revolution is bloody, revolution is hostile, revolution knows no compromise, revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way,” (pg.

255, Malcolm X: The man and his times). In his speech “God’s Judgement of White America”, delivered on December 1, 1963, Malcolm X again promoted his separatist philosophy. “America must set aside some separate territory here in the Western Hemisphere where the two races can live apart from each other, since we certainly don’t get along peacefully while we are here together,” (pg. 287, Malcolm X: The man and his times) After Malcolm X’s pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964, he reappraised white America and modified somewhat his racist and anti-white beliefs. This change is reflected in his “Communication and Reality” spoken to the American Domestic Peace Corps.

“I am against any form of racism. We are all against racism. I believe in Allah. I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I do not believe in the brotherhood with anybody who does not want brotherhood with me,” (pg. 289, Malcolm X: The man and his times) Martin Luther King was an equally strong speaker.

However, most of his speeches were given to encourage white and black people to work together for racial harmony. He especially wanted to teach impressionable black youth that equality could be gained through non-violent methods. These ideals are reflected in his famous “I have a dream” speech, where King addressed to over 250 000 people. In this speech, King urges black people to never forget their dreams. King preaches that in the eyes of God, the blacks are as good as any other race and should be treated as equals.

“I have a dream that one day every valley will be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places shall be made plain, and the crooked places shall be made straight, and the glory of the lord shall be revealed, and all shall see it together,” ( Internet, Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech) Unlike Malcolm X, King does not incite his followers to riot and hate, but encourages his followers to remember that all people are God’s children and that hopefully one day all American can join together to sing “My country tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing .. ” King’s eventual disillusionment became because of the lack of success the blacks were making in America. This discomfort is reflected in his “A time to break the silence” speech. In this speech, he openly condemns American involvement in the Vietnam war. He preaches that America should solve its own racial and social problems before sending vulnerable young men, especially black men, to fight other country’s battles.

“So we have been respectfully forced with the cruel irony of watching Negroes and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to sit them together in the same schools,” (Internet, A time to break the silence speech) Malcolm X and Martin Luther King are both remembered as leaders who fought for a difference in black America. Both tried to bring hope to blacks in the United States. They also tried to instil within blacks power and strength so they could rise above all the hatred that surrounded them, but both of them had very different ways of promoting their message. Malcolm X had a much more extremist approach. Many say that this approach came from his neglectful childhood and early adulthood.

King had a much more calm approach. Some have said that this non-violent approach came from his safe, middle-class environment. Even though they were different in addressing their messages about black respect and pride, they both had the same goal in mind. That goal was to achieve equality between all races.


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