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Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X And Charles Perkins As The Main Figures In Civil Rights Movement

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Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Charles Perkins, were three main crusaders of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. These proponents had similar endpoints in mind, but their methods, ideologies and approaches to this issue were very different. Despite the differences they had, these three brave men risked their lives to bring justice and to end racial segregation.

Martin Luther King Jr, born in Atlanta, the USA on the 15th of January 1928 was the main face of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. He was named Michael at first, after his father, but both changed their names to Martin when he was very little. King Jr. and his siblings were born to an economically stable middle classed family background, therefore they received better education than most of the average children of his race. He began to notice the racial segregation around him at a very young age. He was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi in India. Even though he experienced violence, he never considered violence as a solution. “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.” (keepinspiringme, 2011) By organizing sit-ins, marches, Protests and boycotts Martin encouraged African b Americans to protest legally and non-violently. He believed that his methods could build a country where all races were treated equally without any segregation. Martin was Christian and he used sayings and examples from the bible throughout his campaign. His speech “I have a dream” on August 28th, delivered in the Lincoln Memorial on the March of Washington Jobs and freedom attracted civil rights supporters from all over the world. (Wikipedia, 2019) Martin Luther King was assassinated on the 4th of April 1968 leaving the world the message “you can kill the dreamer, but you can’t kill the dream”

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Charles Nelson Perkins, generally known as Charles Perkins can be identified as the Australian version of Martin Luther King Jr. Charles born in the 16th if June 1936, was an aboriginal activist and international soccer player. (Wikipedia,2019) Unlike King Jr.; Charles grew up in a very unprivileged and uneducated background where he was judged stereotypical means. He experienced racial segregation at a very young age. Soon after he was born, his mother was expelled from his town, Alice Springs to Rainbow city. Charles saw how the world sees aboriginal people as animals. Uncivilised; uneducated and violent.(Indigenous Australia, 2012) He understood that without knowledge, people will not respect his opinion and to stop the segregation of Aboriginal Australians, therefore he should get a proper education. Charles Perkins was the first Aboriginal Australian to get a degree at the University of Sydney. (Wikipedia, 2019) Unlike Malcolm and Martin; Charles engaged in a wide variety of sports. He boxed, cricket, Rugby league, Rugby Union and Aussie Union mainly as a method of the consolation of his traumatic childhood. (Indigenous Australia, 2012) Even though Charles didn’t have a strong religious background like the other two leaders, he believed that many church organizations showed a self-righteous and contented attitude towards aboriginal people and the religious views they respect and follow.(Indigenous Australia, 2019) Charles organized sit-ins and non-violent protests and boycotts as a part of Freedom ride following Martin’s footsteps. He too believed that violence is not the answer and respected non-violent philosophies. The biggest difference between King Jr. and Charles is that Charles actively participated in protests and sits. Martin was an inspiration but Charles worked along with the civil right supporters to obtain the civil rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. After worked hard throughout his life to end all means of racial discrimination Charles Perkins passed away on the 19th October 2000 because of kidney failure.

In the other hand, Malcolm little, commonly known as Malcom X, took a different approach from Martin Luther King and Charles Perkins n in the process of obtaining human rights. Born 19th of May 1925, Malcom was a minister and a prominent human rights activist in the early 1960s. (Wikipedia, 2019) I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it's for or against.” Malcom was a man of justice.(keepinspiringme, 2011) Making “By any means necessary” the theme for his campaign, Malcom was prepared to take any mandatory measures to achieve his goal; even if it involved violence. Malcom was a Muslim and followed and practised Muslim concepts. His religious background has a significant effect on the decisions he made, so did the background he grew up in.(ThoughtCo., N.D.) Just like Charles; Malcom grew up in an unprivileged background that was contentious and barely had any education facilities. His father was murdered in 1931 and his mother was sent to a mental institution and his siblings were sent to foster homes. Malcom served ten years in prison due to the involvement of criminal activities at a very young age. He converted into Muslim during this time and joined the black Muslim movement. The black Muslims believed that they were a separate race of black people and used self-defence as a mechanism to gain civil rights. (keepinspiringme, 2011) His pilgrimage to Mecca; later in his life changed his perspective to a more nonviolent one. Malcom x was assassinated in 21st of February 1965 at the young age of 39. Martin Luther King and Malcom may have taken different approaches in the concept of non-violence but the two African Americans had some significant similarities shared between them. (Life Examinations, N.D.) Not only did they were born to Baptist fathers but they also had educated wives. Another striking similarity between the two proponents is the cause and the age of their death. Both Malcom and Martin were assassinated at the age of 39. (ThoughtCo., N.D.)

In conclusion, even though Malcom X approach of obtaining civil rights was contradicting from Martin Luther King and Charles Perkins, they all worked hard and played an immense role to provide justice to black African Americans and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X And Charles Perkins As The Main Figures In Civil Rights Movement. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 27, 2024, from
“Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X And Charles Perkins As The Main Figures In Civil Rights Movement.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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