Malcom X and Martin Luther King as the Political Activists

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Martin Luther King’s philosophy was against violence; he grew up in a strong religious household that soon became apart of who he was as a person and he was than inspired by Gandhi with his belief that campaigning should be seen in a passive manner. He believed that equality of other races were important in America and that his arguments should be achieved with peaceful facts and points, other than returning violence with violence. Malcolm X later had a different philosophy. He decided to make it clearly known that he would reject the nonviolent actions of the mainstream civil rights movement, which he than made it public that his beliefs would than self-defence against white aggression and oppression for the legitimate weapons. His attitude surprisingly was way more popular than King's, it was the direct action that was being taken place and would indicate visible results, when being compared to King's approach. Later on in the movement, both of their philosophies became great relevances to each other. Malcolm X decided to reconsidered himself after the break with the Nation of Islam. This began to challenge unity and change throughout black pride and people started to respect one another, rather than fighting through hate and revenge. Martin Luther King became very frustrated by the little to no progress being made on equality, and he started to oppose some of his moral ideologies.

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X still remain, in today’s society the two of the world's respected political activists. They were both respected determined national leaders during the American Civil Rights movement, they both were passionate and strived for pushing for same equality and freedom. King was an advocate for non-violent actions and passive resistance to equal civil rights. He soon believed through integration would come self-respect. Whereas Malcolm X was a spokesman for the Black Muslim movement which is also known as the Nation of Islam which than escalated to violent rejection towards white Americans and Christian values, he preached and praised blacks over whites. This was a turning point in history. They both wanted equality of opportunity but had a different way of promoting and getting their main ideas across. Malcolm would criticise King on a regular basis, accusing King of kissing the feet to the whites and controlling the blacks by their own cultural values and abused them. “I have never told anyone my sordid past in detail, I haven’t done it now to sound as though I might be proud of how bad, how evil, I was” (Malcolm 153). King would work with the whites to achieve the same equality whereas Malcolm X stressed self-reliance. King would only use non-violent protest, where Malcolm X helped remove violence. King and Malcolm X have never met, all these allegations Malcolm made were through the media and newsletters. Malcolm dreamed about meeting King someday to have an open debate, but King never responded to Malcolm. Washington 1964 there was a hearing taking place about the Civil Rights Act, this is the day King and Malcolm met in person for the first time ever. Oddly enough this wasn’t a situation for debate. Both men were side by side smiling. Over time this helped blacks termendacily this became an extremely strong symbol of reconciliation between the two differences of visions for the black causes.

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Malcolm X’s strategy on helping African-Americans would help the black community change themselves and enable economic stability and independence. His plan was to educate blacks on politics and economics within their own community. This was a conceivable way to raid the black community in bringing back power to themselves that the white community has over them. Malcolm X would further his argumentative points by advocating for the blacks and exercises their constitutional rights to own a firearm. He tries to argue that the black community must for hear and follow to the laws regulating gun use. His main point was that black men should own a firearm to raise themselves to the same level of white men in the South which nonetheless were the big factor of who owned firearms. “You have to be careful, very careful, introducing the truth to the black man who has never previously heard the truth about himself, and the white man” (Malcolm 185). The more power that the African-Americans possessed and upholded, the stronger their communities will become, and allowed them to being just as powerful as the white community. He wanted to highlight other main issues that he argued mostly about that would be addressed within the black community as a whole. One of his main points to argue in his speech were his minor occupation of usage for defensive violence against the “violent enemy”. He wanted to make sure he was responding in a appropriate manner. If the enemy was nonviolent, then he would be nonviolent, but if the enemy would violently attack, he would respond with violence back trying to justify it.

King and Malcolm presented convenient contrasts King was a symbol of good over evil. Malcolm was a symbol of black rage. However, the relationship between Malcolm and King was much more complicated. On September, 1964 he began to cooperate with King by pressuring Congress to reinstate the laws. During most of Malcolm's life he saw Kings strategy as playing the religious, white man game of the movement. “What fascinated me with him most of all was that he was the first man I had ever seen command total respect… with his words” (Malcolm. 157). Even as King would advocated the love of all people, Malcolm preached separatism and violence. Both having different views as handling things. King spoke for some but not for all African-Americans, by his approach to love and support all and make everyone have the same equality, whereas Malcolm spoke for the others by wanting to get revenge on the whites and allow blacks to have all the power and control the whites like they controlled the blacks. To execute who was more effective in allowing change is impossible. Legislation was passed to discourage violence and to acknowledge the public support for better race relations. February 21, 1965 was the day Malcolm X was killed in New York City. This upbringing brought an end to the political debates in the history of black Americans. King had a few words to say about his death, he thought Malcolm did a great job calling attention to the way blacks were being treated and pointed out the problems that were arising. What King didn't expect after Malcolm’s death, is that the two would become much more than just rivals. He became an outstanding advocate for many generations to come of young blacks. April 4, 1968, was the day Martin Luther King was killed in Memphis. While his funeral was taking place, the black community came together mourning the loss of their national leader only after three years of the surprising death of Malcolm X, these two shaped the history of African Americans in the world around us.

I understand where both parties are coming from with the ideals to raise black powers, however strategy wise I believe Martin Luther King had the best. Based on his arguments he seemed to have the best intentions in mind. He wanted equal power to everyone and allow the same rights and happiness. He genuinely cared about the world and the people around him. Malcolm X seemed too bitter. He wanted revenge and to have the blacks have all the power. I believe if Malcolm X inspired that many people the world would of shifted over and the whites would be in the same position as the blacks are in now. The power would of changed and nothing would of gotten resolved. Living in the sixties was a terrible time for the blacks even before that. If I was a white person in the sixties I would of wanted the blacks to have the same equal power as us and all be allowed to come together as a whole. There is nothing wrong with the color of someone's skin tone. I would of helped the blacks regardless of the lashput I would receive. If I was a black person in the sixties I would continue to fight for the same rights as the whites. There is no reason one race has all the power and whatever they say goes. I would help fight for equality and help change the world into a better place. Soon enough the blacks and whites have the same power by having jobs, going to schools, living in the same neighborhoods etc. History has changed tremendously overtime. History will never stop changing, it takes awhile for these motions and powers to take place. Today as a community and society we are seen as equal and have the same rights as other races and color. It’s hard to say exactly what the next fifty to a hundred years will look like but I believe we will still be in this world as a whole.

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Malcom X and Martin Luther King as the Political Activists. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 23, 2024, from
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