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Martin Luther King and Malcolm X: Two Civil Rights Leaders

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Throughout the Civil Rights Movement, many leaders emerged that captured the attention of the American public. During this period, the leaders used different tactics in order to achieve change. Two strong civil rights leaders, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were very well known African American individuals throughout history. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X helped shape American black and white culture today. They fought for what they stood for but in extremely different ways. Both of these two leaders had seem to have different views on how to go about gaining theirs and their peers freedom. King spoke with integrity, amity and intelligence, he led the black community to a peaceful and nonviolent approach to the issue, believing that it would allow the blacks to achieve equality with the white Americans.

While Malcolm X seem to take a more pessimistic approach, he believed in achieving equality was nearly impossible. He spoke with violence and wanted a radical revolution. Both of these leaders beliefs were formed in their youth. While Martin Luther King Jr. followed his dream of an integrated nation, Malcolm X aimed to completely break apart and separate the nation. Malcolm X and King both believed in getting equal rights by “any means necessary” in ways such as separatism. They both strived to achieve equality for blacks under the law, more specifically, voting rights, desegregation, and more representation in government and politics. Yet, the lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King were completely different. Martin Luther King was born in a loving and religious family in Atlanta. He grew up in an integrated neighborhood where everyone knows each other and everyone talks to each other no matter what your race is.

On the other hand Malcolm X was raised in a completely different environment. He was born in a underprivileged neighborhood with little educational support. He was very intelligent since he was a child. One event that got to him the most was when he told his teacher he wanted to be a lawyer but the teacher told him that there’s no such thing as a black lawyer and gave him a response that made him realize the segregation and his hatred for whites. Malcolm was born in a life filled with anxiety, fear, and anger. Even at violent times, King would never act out. King wanted all the races to come together for the hatred and violence to be put to a halt. Malcolm X had a different perspective regarding the march. He felt that integration would destroy the black and the white man, that American blacks should be more concerned with helping each other. He felt blacks should start by giving the same race self respect first. Malcolm did not agree with what King had to say, he felt that king’s dream was not a dream but a nightmare.

Although they are two very different people, they were both aiming for the same thing. So they used whatever power they had to make a voice for themselves, though sometimes Malcolm’s way of protesting was more of a brawl that people tried to stay away from. Their speeches and rallies often led to protests, speeches, and eventually the assassinations of both men. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 and Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965. I honor both these two men with high appreciation, because not only did they impact the citizens of America, but they also changed the perspective of the whole world and gave us a different view to the story. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were leaders who fought for their rights, and their hope for peace.

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Martin Luther King and Malcolm X: Two Civil Rights Leaders. (2019, January 28). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from
“Martin Luther King and Malcolm X: Two Civil Rights Leaders.” GradesFixer, 28 Jan. 2019,
Martin Luther King and Malcolm X: Two Civil Rights Leaders. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 Aug. 2022].
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