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Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X: the Perspectives of Segregation

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On March 26, 1964, two of the most famous African American celebrities met for the first time but both had different perspectives on segregation. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were on different paths but who was most successful? Keep in mind that both had a rough life because racism was a huge problem and they were not respected at their young age which made it very difficult for them to achieve greatness. Malcolm X supported segregation and believed that blacks and whites should be separated but have the same needs. He also thought that guns were needed for blacks to protect against whites. On the other hand, Martin Luther King jr. believed that segregation was not okay and as well with firearms.

Document B, Martin Luther King, ‘I Have a Dream’Speech, August 28, 1963. In this document, King spoke his feelings and dreams about racism and how he dreams that equality will once come to mind to the whites. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. I have a dream that one day out in the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood…”

This quote explains what Martin Luther King Jr. wished for, and he wanted to stop racism and fight for the rights of his fellow African Americans. After this, People began to realize that racism is not correct and should be changed. Although it did not change immediately, it slowly began to change as more began to change their thoughts on racism and how blacks were being judged on their color. In Document C, Autobiography of Malcolm X, 1965, Malcolm X said, “I tell sincere white people,’Work in conjunction with us – each of us working among our own kind.’

Malcolm X wanted the whites to only work among themselves and as well for the blacks. He did not achieve anything because this would only make it worse for blacks since they would not have the same privileges and whites would only be advancing more individually. He believed that the blacks could advance among themselves but at this time the whites were more privileged so the African Americans wouldn’t go anywhere.

In Document, Martin Luther King, ‘Our God is Marching On.’ Speech made on Alabama State Capitol steps at the conclusion oftheSelmatoMontgomery march, March 21, 1965. Martin Luther King Jr. Said “Let us march on segregated schools until every vestige of segregation and inferior education becomes a thing of the past and Negroes and whites study side by side in the socially healing context of the classroom..”

King explains that whites can have segregated schools but will soon realize that a change must be made and blacks and whites would be in the same classroom side by side studying and learning. If this were never said, maybe whites and blacks would still be in separate schools because no thought would have come to peoples minds. In Document E, Basic Unity Program, Organization ofAfro-American Unity. Founded byMalcolm X in 1964, Malcolm X says “The Organization of Afro-American Unity will devise original educational methods and procedures which will liberate the minds of our children from the vicious lies and distortions that are fed to us from the cradle to keep us mentally enslaved. We encourage Afro-Americans themselves to establish experimental institutes and educational workshops, liberation schools and child-care centers in Afro-American communities.”

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Malcolm X explains that African American community will educate themselves and find ways to erase children thoughts about them being enslaved. To get their minds off about them being lower than the whites and they would create many companies,workshops, and schools successfully. Again… African Americans had no privileges so they would never evolve economically.

In Document F, Martin Luther King, ‘Nonviolence: The Only Road to Freedom.’ Ebony, October 21, 1961. Martin Luther King Jr. said “In the past six months simply by refusing to purchase products from companies which do not hire Negroes in meaningful numbers and in all job categories, the Ministers of Chicago under SCLC’s Operation Breadbasket have increased the income of the Negro community by more than two million dollars annually…. This is nonviolence at its peak of power, when it cuts into the profit margin of a business in order to bring about a more just distribution of jobs and opportunities for Negro wage earners and consumers.”

Martin Luther King Jr. explains how African Americans evolved throughout time without any violence. As to Malcolm X, was okay with violence and believed that was the only way to protect themselves against the whites. Both don’t boycott so that is something in common, which benefited both because Malcolm X supporters would also begin to see Martin Luther King Jrs. perspective and also it would be the same for Kings supporters. In Document G, Malcolm X, quoted in George Breitman, The Last Years of Malcolm X: Evolution of a Revolutionary, 1967. Malcolm X said “…(W)e haven’t learned the importance of owning and operating businesses…so even when we try and spend our money in the neighborhood where we live, we’re spending it with someone who puts it in a basket and takes it out as soon as the sun goes down.

So the economic philosophy of black nationalism puts the burden upon the black man of learning how to control his own economy.”

He claims that the blacks don’t know how to handle money and just give it to others who take advantage and waste it. Now, if they were spending lots of money randomly they wouldn’t get anywhere and instead would be losing economic growth. Only as allies, can both benefit themselves and grow together.

To sum this up, Martin Luther King Jr. achieved the most as expected because there is less racism and now blacks are allowed to work with whites in various jobs. Malcolm X tried to separate blacks and whites to prove that blacks could do it alone without any help but didn’t succeed. He was also with guns, which was a bad view for the whites as blacks would become more dangerous since they are armed. Martin Luther King Jrs. Famous speech “ I have a dream” caused whites to think about what they were doing was incorrect and to unite would help and both colors. If it weren’t for Martin Luther King Jr. there would probably be a lot of racism and jobs where only whites would be allowed.

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Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X: the Perspectives of Segregation. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 21, 2023, from
“Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X: the Perspectives of Segregation.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
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