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Inspirational Role Models of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X

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The civil rights movement was a political movement for social justice that took place during the 1950/1960s. The movement mainly worked with providing the black people of the United States with equal civil rights such as the right to vote in elections on an equal footing with whites and to eliminate racist discrimination against black Americans (History Editors). Many civil rights activists are known for their fight against social injustice and their impact on the lives of all oppressed people(Biography). Some of them are still inspirational role models such as Martin Luther King Jr, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X. Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X were two of the most important civil rights leaders. They were fighting for the same case but had different mindsets and opinions.

Martin Luther King Jr was one of the most well-known advocates for non-violent social justice at his time. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and was raised in an activist family. Malcolm X on the other hand was also an American civil rights activist, a former preacher of the Nation of Islam, and a supporter of black nationalism. King had a happy and upbringing childhood until his family was schooled on the harsh reality of racial segregation while Malcolm spent his childhood in fostercare due to his father’s murder and his mother’s hospitalization. Both King and Malcolm had extraordinary oratorical skills which helped them gain national recognition. King’s first protest was the Montgomery boycott which had a positive outcome. Malcolm on the other side began to preach at a mosque in Harlem after being released from prison. Over the following decade, King showed his faith in non-violent protests and led non-violent boycotts, protests, and marches (Youthforhumanrights). Malcolm on the contrary encouraged his fellow black Americans to defend themselves from white violence ‘by any means necessary” through speaking passionately at big gatherings, activities, and rallies. Therefore they are seen as opposing forces.

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King’s goal was to raise the public awareness of racism, to put an end to racial discrimination and segregation in the United States. He was inspired by his Christian faith and the peaceful teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, who also were an activist. King believed that all people should be treated equally and have the right to live an honest and peaceful life regardless of race, social status, and occupation. Malcolm´s goal was similar to King’s goals whereas Malcolm believed that black people were chosen by God and that white people were fated for punishment since they oppressed black people. He was inspired to fight for the rights of black people because of the racial oppression he and his family had faced. His father’s murder was allegedly completed by white supremacists although it had been said that the incident happened in a car accident. King became the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) meanwhile Malcolm became the minister of the Nation of Islam. Additionally, both of them were spokesmen for each of their organizations. Afterward, they both achieved numerous victories throughout the movement with their preachings.

As mentioned, King lead the bus boycott which resulted in his favor, he was the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) which had a large role in the civil rights movement, he also was one of the leaders of the “big six” civil rights organizations who organized the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom representing SCLC (Wikipedia). Whereas Malcolm was named the minister of several mosques in the United States, He participated in numerous debates at radio stations and universities such as LA radio station and Harvard law school, Malcolm also lead the Unity rally in Harlem which was one of the nation’s largest civil rights events. King delivered an important speech during this march which is called “I have a dream” which became one of the defining moments of the civil rights movement and one of the most iconic speeches in American history (Tikkanen). Malcolm also delivered a speech at a church which is considered one of Malcolm’s most powerful and militant remarks, the speech received a considerable amount of attention from the media. King and Malcolm managed to be present at the civil rights act in 1964, despite their differences.

In conclusion, Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X were two of the most important civil rights leaders. They were two inspirational figures with opposing visions, who will always remain as the cornerstones of black American history. Most people would address Martin Luther King Jr as a representative for young people today because he never was violent and never gave up on his goals until they were accomplished. Some people will address Malcolm X as a representative for young people today because he refused to let anyone define anyone’s life, although some people would say that he promoted violence when he advocated self-defense. Unfortunately was Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X assassinated early in life. They accomplished countless accomplishments that always will live on. However, they remain as two of the world’s most revered political activists to this day.

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Inspirational Role Models of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 4, 2022, from
“Inspirational Role Models of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
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