Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X: Icons for the Civil Rights Movement

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Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were two individuals who not only helped the African-American plight during the Civil Rights Movement, but served as icons to the history of their race. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X grew up in very different environments. King Jr. came from a middle class family where education was a significant value in his home life. Malcolm X, on the other hand, was raised in a foster home after his father’s murder and his mom was put into a mental institution. He was a self-taught individual who did not receive much in the way of a formal education. He grew as a leader with his motivation, intelligence and determination. However, both men were fierce advocates for civil rights and consider their blackness to be a critical component of their identity and their strength. Martin Luther King Jr. was born into a family whose name was well known. His family was always making sure that their son was safe and happy. Malcolm was raised in a completely different city and environment. His environment was full of fear and anger. This is what made Malcolm such a strong person. The burning of his house by the Ku Klux Klan resulted in the murder of his father, due to his death his mother suffered a mental breakdown and his eight brothers were all split up. From this time on, Malcolm took all of his anger and channeled it as motivation to find revenge. The lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. were significant factors that contributed to the way that each other handled racism in America. Both men became icons of the African American culture and were influential to black Americans. King had a different way of handling situations. He believed that through positivity and peace he would, someday, achieve ... ... middle of paper ... ...r voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed” (King, 62), that Martin Luther King was demanding freedom for his people, and that by playing it on a peaceful manner he will achieve such. Both men are good leaders after all. Again, Martin Luther King came from a family that loved him, and because the experience of his childhood he was a peaceful leader. Malcolm X on the other hand was a man who suffered through his childhood because white supremacist killed his father and it separated all his family. Malcolm X was raised in foster homes and got to experience the worst. He had revenge in his mind. King however was looking for unity and equality from the white people, and that one day they were all going to live peacefully together. In the end both goals were very similar and both became a big impact on the African-American society.
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