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Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay

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Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.


     African Americans are fortunate to have leaders who fought for a difference in Black America. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X are two powerful men in particular who brought hope to blacks in the United States. Both preached the same message about Blacks having power and strength in the midst of all the hatred that surrounded them. Even though they shared the same dream of equality for their people, the tactics they implied to make these dreams a reality were very different. The background, environment and philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X were largely responsible for the distinctly varying responses to American racism.

     The early backgrounds of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. had major impact on their goal to achieve equality between all races. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born Michael Luther King in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. He was one of three children born to Martin Luther King Sr., pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Alberta King, a former schoolteacher. Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother, Louise Norton Little, was a homemaker who stayed occupied with the family’s eight children. His father, Earl Little, was an outspoken Baptist minister and avid supporter of Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. King attended segregated local public grammar schools in Georgia and graduated from high school at the age of fifteen after being skipped two grade levels. King then enrolled in Morehouse University in 1944 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He furthered his education after Morehouse at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania and at Boston University, earning his doctorate. X attended reform school in Michigan after the death of his father. Malcolm dropped out of school after graduating from junior high school at the top of his class.

     As the years passed Malcolm and Martin took on two different lifestyles. Martin then married Coretta Scott in 1955 and into the family born two sons and two daughters. Malcolm married on January 14, 1958 to Betty Sanders and later had six daughters. King was renamed “Martin” when he was about six years old. Malcolm considered “Little” a slave name and chose the “X” to signify his lost tribal name (Rummel 157). In 1954, Martin Luther King accepted pa...


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...el 125). Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X are both remembered as strong leaders who shared an equal dream that one day their people would be free from racism and oppression. They believed in this dream so strongly they sacrificed their lives for it.

     Today, both men's legacy lives on and is being carried out by their loved ones. They had the same goal in mind about Black respect and pride, but were different in addressing their message. Personally, the life of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King has inspired me. Their determination and strong will to fight for something they believed in encouraged me to fight for my belief in God and values as a Black person. They also help me realize if you want something in life you have to go after it and that is what I did with furthering my education. One should use Malcolm and Martin as examples to not let anything in life get in the way of what you stand for. Even though Malcolm and Martin did not live to see their dream come true their deaths were not in vain. Although Black America still have a long way to go in overcoming racism, we have accomplished a lot in gaining rights since the death of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.


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