Malcolm X Vs. Martin Luther King Jr.

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The Civil Rights Movement symbolized the challenge and opposition to the racial injustices and segregation that had been engrained in American society for hundreds of years. Events that took place in the 1950s and 1960s, such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, sit-ins, speeches and numerous protests define this momentous time in United States history. Speeches during this period served as a means to inspire and assemble a specific group of people, for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X it was the black community that needed to rise up in hopes of achieving equal rights and voting rights for the blacks. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were two of the most prominent leaders and orators at the heart of the Civil Rights Movement. Although both leaders possessed the same objectives, their outlooks and perspectives differed immensely. The main primary difference focused on their willingness to employ violence to achieve their end goals. While Dr. King suggests a civil disobedient approach in “Give Us The Ballot” and “Pilgrimage to Non Violence,” Malcolm X believed otherwise, expressing his belief that the black community needed to rise up and organize. Malcolm X articulated his view on the necessary use of violence and retaliation in “The Ballot or the Bullet”. Despite the striking differences of methods between the two civil rights leaders, there were a few similarities between these two leaders. They both believed that blacks suffered from great injustice and prejudice. King felt that all people were affected by the existing injustices that the few were suffering. Malcolm X preferred a more confrontational method of action, but also recognized the fact that blacks had been oppressed for too ... ... middle of paper ... ...ealing to the compassion of the humanity through the means of civil disobedience, Dr. King was able to expose racial injustices and appeal to the human conscience and national opinion so that those who had the power to initiate change would support him and those who were fighting to overcome oppression. Works Cited Martin Luther King, Jr., “Give Us the Ballot—We Will Transform the South” (1957), from A Testament of Hope, Ed. James Melvin Washington, San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1986 Martin Luther King, Jr., “Pilgrimage to Non Violence” (1958), from The Sixties Papers: Documents of a Rebellious Decade, Judith Clavir Albert and Stewart Edward Albert, eds., New York: Prager, 1984 Malcolm X, “The Ballot or the Bullet” (speech from April 3rd, 1964), from Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements, Ed. George Breitman, New York: Pathfinder, 1990

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