Civil rights are the rights each person has in society, no matter what their race, sex or religion may be. Guaranteed fundamental freedoms to all individuals. The Civil Rights Movement was an era dedicated to activism for equal rights and treatment of African Americans in the United States. During this period, people protested for social, legal, political and cultural changes to stop discrimination and end segregation in the United States. The Civil Rights Act led to greater social and economic flexibility for African-Americans across the United States and banned racial discrimination, which created access to resources for women, religious minorities, African-Americans and low-income families. There were many social groups who rallied against segregation. Two groups who were very influential were Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X, who had very different tactics when it came to protesting. Those tactics being non-violent and violent.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister and social activist who led the civil rights movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. was an extremely influential spokesperson for nonviolent methods of achieving social change. Martin Luther King grew up in an activist family. His father, Martin Luther King Sr, was a supporter of Marcus Garveys ‘back to America movement’ in the 1920s. His mother, Alberta Williams King, was the daughter of one of the most influential African American ministers. King had grown up around people who fought for their rights which explains his heavy involvement in the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr fought hard against the law to bring equality to America and achieve civil rights for all people. Martin Luther King made his protests very public in order to prove the importance of having a non-violent protest. He was a role model to many people during his time. Some of the achievements Martin Luther King made were; His leadership role in the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955, Delivering his famous “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963, Being a supporter for nonviolent protest in the Memphis Sanitation Worker Strike in 1968, and helping to establish the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, a civil rights organization that supports protesting without violence. Martin Luther King faced many challenges throughout his campaigning. During the bus boycott, his home was bombed and he was arrested during a campaign to desegregate the city of Birmingham, Alabama. He went to jail multiple times during his life. King also turned to issues that were difficult to solve. For example, in 1968, he went on the Poor People’s Campaign to improve jobs and housing for African-Americans, mainly in urban areas. Martin Luther King, Jr. faced many challenges, including violence, the problems of uniting his movement, the problem of pressuring the federal government for change, and the problem of inequality. The reason why Martin Luther King Jr is so significant is that he became a symbol of the Civil Rights Campaign. He did not invent it and was not the only leader in it, but he captures the public imagination more than anyone else in civil rights history.
Malcolm X was also one of the most famous black nationalist leaders in the United States. He promoted black pride and was known all over the world as a human rights leader. Malcolm Little was born in Omaha, Nebraska on May 19, 1925, and was assassinated on February 21st 1965. Malcolm’s father, Earl Little, was a leader in an African-American group called the UNIA. This caused the family to be harassed by white supremacists. They even had their house burnt down. When Malcolm was six years old, his father was found dead on the tracks of the local streetcar. The police said the death was an accident, but many believed that his dad was murdered. When Malcolm was a young boy, he felt like he had no real opportunities. Turning him to a life of crime. In 1945, he was caught with stolen goods and was sent to prison. There he joined the Nation of Islam religion. And later became the minister for the Nation of Islam. He worked at several temples around the country and became the leader of Temple Number 7 in Harlem. When the African American Civil Rights Movement began in the 1960s, Malcolm did not believe or agree with Martin Luther Kings non-violent protesting. Malcolm didn’t want a nation where blacks and whites were integrated, he wanted a separate nation just for black people. Malcolm X encouraged black people to “fight back” against people who tried to stop them. He believed that blacks should create a new society of their own rather than try to integrate with the white society. Although Malcolm X encouraged violence, he also encouraged pride and made a big contribution to the black power movement of the 1960s. Malcolm X had some difficulties during his protests. Most difficulties he faced were due to his involvement in the Nation Of Islam, which he was suspended from in 1963 after commenting on the assassination of John F Kennedy where Malcolm X stated that it was a case of “chickens coming home to roost. Chickens coming to roost never did make me sad, they’ve always made me glad,” (Malcolm X, Dec 1st 1963, www.quora.com) Malcolm X was such an influential person in the civil rights movement because he brought a new and different perspective to the movement. He spoke to a different group of people. He proposed that African Americans should return to Africa and that a separate country for black people in America should be created. He stood for his own cause.
Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X were both very influential people during the civil rights movement. While they both stood for the same cause, they had very different protesting tactics. While Martin Luther King preached non-violent protesting and achieving equal rights, Malcolm X believed in black supremacy and encouraged fighting against the whites. Malcolm often criticised Kings protesting methods. ‘What Martin Luther King is doing is disarming the Black people of America of their God-given right and of their natural right,'(Malcolm X, no date given, www.AZquotes.com). While Malcolm X was a very powerful voice and was idolised by many people, Martin Luther King was the one who actually showed he was making a difference. Martin Luther King was the leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and made one of the most famous speeches in the world, the “I Have A Dream” speech which brought beneficial media exposure to his campaign. Martin Luther King Jr was a more well-known leader for the Civil Rights Movement. He was always a peaceful leader, and always handled things with his non-violent approach. King wanted all races to come together and form equality, while Malcolm X wanted black supremacy. He wanted blacks to become the superior race. If society followed through with Malcolm X’s approach for segregation and for races to be separated the world would be a much different place. An interesting similarity between the two men is that both were very religious, but followed different religions and paths.