The Black Power Movement vs the Civil Rights Movement

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Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were two of the most important people in black history. With their struggle to make America view black people as equals, their speeches were inspirational and always made their message clear. The two men joined the fight for equality for similar reasons. King’s family were terrorized by all the whites in his area, and X’s father was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan This inspired and motivated both to challenge society. Whilst fighting for the same thing - equality for blacks - the movements they became involved with went about achieving their goals in completely different ways. The Civil Rights Movement is most commonly linked with Martin Luther King and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The NAACP was founded in 1909, with King becoming the “face” of the society in 1955 during the bus boycott. The NAACP wanted integration between the black and white communities. Black power is a term usually linked with Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam (NOI). The NOI was founded by Wallace D Ford in 1930, with Elijah Mohammed as the “prophet,” later replaced by the more famous Malcolm X. The Nation of Islam hated white America as much as white America hated them. They campaigned for equality but segregation - to remain separate, but to gain the same facilities as white people had and not to be treated as inferior. Their argument was that if Christianity was the religion of white people, then God must be Satan as white culture sired the Ku Klux Klan, Jim crow laws, racism, murder, castration and the unrestricted exploitation of Negro workers. They also stated that white, Anglo – Saxon protestants (WASPs) discriminated against anyone not a WASP themselves, when Jesus was not only black, but a Jew as well. In NOI opinion, all blacks should convert to Islam, with their God Allah, and their holy book the Qur’an. They taught that black people, both individually and as a race, were God.

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