The Black Power Movement vs the Civil Rights Movement

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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The main difference between the NOI and the CRM was their approach to
achieving their goal. Thee NAACP used non – violence (protests,
marches and speeches) to make themselves known. However, the NOI
favored violence to make their point, “I don’t go along with non -
violence unless everybody’s going to be non – violent…you get freedom
by letting your enemy know that you’ll do anything to get your
freedom; then you’ll get it.” – Malcolm X.

The content of the speeches may have been different, but the style was
the same. They both used religion in their speeches to inspire and
motivate the black population to fight for their rights. They used
persuasive language as well as the force behind their words to show
people that changes needed to be made. Whilst campaigning for
different things, the two movements underlying goal was the same; to
make America stop viewing black people as inferior citizens.
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