Martin Luther King Jr, And Malcom X. As The Significant Civil Rights Leaders

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Civil rights are the rights that citizens have to political and social freedom and equality. They are important because they guarantee that all citizens are protected from discrimination under the law. The civil rights movement was a battle for social justice that occurred mainly during the 1950s and 1960s for African Americans to achieve equal rights under the law in the United States. The Civil War had officially terminated slavery, but discrimination against blacks still continued. Blacks continued to encounter the diminishing effects of racism, especially in the South. By the mid-20th century, African Americans were at their wits end with the prejudice and the violence that had been opposing them. They, along with several whites, assembled and began an unprecedented war for equality that continued over two decades. Two significant civil rights leaders that helped fight the battle for equal rights were Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcom X.

Malcolm X (Malcolm Little) was born on the 19th of May 1925. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Malcolm X spent his teenage years living in a series of foster homes after his father’s death, who was allegedly killed by a white supremesis group, and his mother’s hospitalization. He later went to prison for several illicit activities, where he joined the Nation of Islam, a black nationalist group that saw white people as the devil. He also adopted the name Malcolm X to represent his rejection of his “slave” name. He quickly became one of the organization’s most influential leaders after being paroled in 1952. After prison he became an African American leader in the civil rights movement, because he felt much pride for his black race and he felt peaceful protest was bound to fail. Malcom X also became a minister and supporter of black nationalism. He urged his fellow black Americans to protect themselves against white aggression “by any means necessary,”. On February 21, 1965 (aged 39), Malcolm X was assassinated by Thomas Hagan, a former member of the Nation of Islam.

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Martin Luther King (Micheal King) was born on the 15th of January 1929 in his grandparents’ large Victorian house on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia.He was the second of three children, and was first named Michael, after his father. In Atlanta he worked odd jobs and studied, and slowly developed a reputation as a preacher. In his adolescent years, he initially felt resentment against whites due to the ‘racial humiliation’ that he, his family, and his neighbors often had to endure in the segregated South. He led the entire civil rights movement in the 1960s that called for solving conflicts with kindness and love instead of resulting in hate and violence. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for and achieved mandatory equal voting rights in America for white and African Americans. He organized a number of peaceful protests as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, including the famous March on Washington where he was accompanied by 200,000 followers. On the 4th of April 1968 Martin Luther King was assassinated by firearm.

Malcolm X and Martin Luther King were both very significant and influential figures during the civil rights movement, although their philosophies of achieving these rights greatly differed. Malcolm X believed the only way to stop the injustices towards black people was through violence as the white Americans were. He believed it was best for the black people to fight back, or even move back to Africa. He felt as though Martin Luther King‘s philosophy, of nonviolence, in achieving civil rights was pointless, and that the only way to stop the “most cruel beasts” (the white Americans), from controlling the lives of black people was to result to violence, and fight back. Martin Luther King though believed in equality and freedom and expressed this through non-violent approaches, a key example of this is his I have a dream speech where he mentions, “little black boys and little white girls holding hands”. He had a vision of the white and black communities coming together as one and equal. This leads me to believe that Martin Luther King would have been disappointed and angered with the actions of Malcolm X. Although Malcolm X’s actions may have helped with the safety and security of black people, they probably tore the black and white people further apart than they already were in the first place. In my view Martin Luther King was more successful in

achieving civil rights because it is fact that many of the protests he led were prime causes to why the voting laws were changed. Also not only did King gather a huge amount of African American followers, he also managed to gather many white where Malcolm X did not.

Both Martin Luther King and Malcom X played major roles in the civil rights movement. They endured many hardships and made many friends and enemies and their actions will be remembered and passed on through history. Although their philosophies may have been very different they both fought for the justice and pride of their black race and the world wouldn’t be what it is today without them.


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