Martin luther king jr. and malcolm x
Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X
Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X grew up in different environments. King was raised in a comfortable middle-class family where education was stressed. On the other hand, Malcolm X came from and underprivileged home. He was a self-taught man who received little schooling and rose to greatness on his own intelligence and determination. Martin Luther King was born into a family whose name in Atlanta was well established. Despite segregation, Martin Luther King's parents ensured that their child was secure and happy.
Malcolm X was born on May 19, 1925 and was raised in a completely different atmosphere than King, an atmosphere of fear and anger where the seeds of bitterness were planted. The burning of his house by the Klu Klux Klan resulted in the murder of his father. His mother later suffered a nervous breakdown and his family split up. He was haunted by this early nightmare for most of his life. From then on, he was driven by hatred and a desire for revenge.
The early backgrounds of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King were largely responsible for the distinct different responses to American racism. Both men ultimately became towering icons of contemporary African-American culture and had a great influence on black Americans. However, King had a more positive attitude than Malcolm X, believing that through peaceful demonstrations and arguments, blacks will be able to someday achieve full equality with whites. Malcolm X's despair about life was reflected in his angry, pessimistic belief that equality is impossible because whites have no moral conscience. King basically adopted on an equality philosophy, whereby he felt that blacks and whites should be united and live together in peace. Malcolm X, however, promoted nationalist and separatist doctrines. For most of his life, he believed that only through revolution and force could blacks attain their rightful place in society.
Both X and King spread their message through powerful, hard-hitting speeches. Nevertheless, their intentions were delivered in different styles and purposes.
"King was basically a peaceful leader who urged non-violence to his followers. He travelled about the country giving speeches that inspired black and white listeners to work together for racial harmony." (pg. 135, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Freedom Movement)
Malcolm X, for the most part, believed that non-violence and integration was a trick by the whites to keep blacks in their places. He was furious at white racism and encouraged his followers through his speeches to rise up and protest against their white enemies. After Malcolm X broke away from Elijah Mohammed, this change is reflected in his more moderate speeches.
Malcolm X and Martin Luther King's childhoods had powerful influences on the men and their speeches. Malcolm X was brought up in an atmosphere of violence. During his childhood, Malcolm X suffered not only from abuse by whites, but also from domestic violence. His father beat his mother and both of them abused their children. His mother was forced to raise eight children during the depression. After his mother had a mental breakdown, the children were all placed in foster homes. Malcolm X's resentment was increased as he suffered through the ravages of integrated schooling. Although an intelligent student who shared the dream of being a lawyer with Martin Luther King, Malcolm X's anger and disillusionment caused him to drop out of school. He started to use cocaine and set up a burglary ring to support his expensive habit. Malcolm X's hostility and promotion of violence as a way of getting change was well established in his childhood.
Martin Luther King lived in an entirely different environment. He was a smart student and skipped two grades before entering an ivy league college at only the age of 15. He was the class valedictorian with an A average. King paraded his graduation present in a new green Chevrolet before his fellow graduates. He was raised in the perfect environment where dreams and love were generated. King and X's childhoods are "a study in polarity." (pg. 254, Reflecting Black)
Whereas, Malcolm X was raised in nightmarish conditions. King's home was almost dream-like. He was raised in a comfortable middle-class home where strong values natured his sense of self-worth.
Sure, many have admired Malcolm X and Martin Luther King for the way that they preached. "Both King and Malcolm X promoted self-knowledge and respect for one's history and culture as the basis for unity." (pg. 253, Reflecting Black.) Other than the fact that they were similar in some ways, they also had many differences that people admired, both in belief and speech.
Malcolm X, in many ways, was known to many as an extremist. For most of the time that he spent as an Islamic minister, he preached about separatism between blacks and whites. He also preached about black nationalism, and as some would call it, "black supremacy," (reporter from Malcolm X movie).
Malcolm X had been misled all through his life. This can be shown especially at the time when he broke away from the black Muslim party, because he realised that they were misleading him by telling him that separatism between blacks and whites is the only way to go. They also misled him by telling him that separatism is a part of the Islamic religion. Malcolm X's life was known to many as a nightmare because he was abused and haunted by both blacks and whites. Malcolm X blamed many of the conditions that blacks in the United States lived in on the whites. He also talked about how the white man still sees the black man as a slave.
Martin Luther King appeared to many as calm and idealistic. Many say his calmness came from his peaceful, middle-class life. For instance, King preached about equality for blacks and whites. He also preached about getting this equality through a non-violent way. King's popularity was more than any other black leader's popularity.
"King urged blacks to win their rightful place in society by gaining self-respect, high moral standards, hard work and leadership. He also urged blacks to do this in a non-violent matter," (pg. 255, Reflecting Black)
The difference is in Malcolm X and Martin Luther King's backgrounds had a direct influence on their later viewpoints. As a black youth, Malcolm X was rebellious and angry. He blamed the poor social conditions that blacks lived in on the whites. "His past ghetto life prepared him to reject non-violence and integration and to accept a strong separatist philosophy as the basis for black survival," (Internet, Malcolm X anniversary).
He even believed at one time that whites were agents of the devil. As a result, "Malcolm X recommended a separatist and nationalist strategy for black survival," (pg. 57, Malcolm X: The man and his times)
He believed that only through violence would conditions change. He saw no evidence that white society had any moral conscience and promoted the role of the angry black against racist America.
King's philosophies presented a sharp contrast to those of Malcolm X. He believed that through hard work, strong leadership, and non-violent tactics, blacks could achieve full equality with whites. His belief in non-violence even ...