Essay on A Comparison of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X

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Martin Luther King and Malcolm X: Different Men With the Same Goal

Martin Luther King jr. and Malcolm X are still highly controversial African-American leaders. Martin, a Christian integrationist, and Malcolm, a Muslim nationalist have been a powerful force against racial injustice. Each man sacrificed his life for the freedom of his people; however, Martin and Malcolm had taken very different approaches in achieving equality and identity for African-Americans in the land of their birth.

In order to better understand why King and X took the course of action each took, one must take into account a little bit of their background. Martin Luther King jr., was born in Atlanta, Georgia into a middle-class family. The
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It is impossible to get at the roots of one’s religious attitudes without taking in account the psychological and historical factors that play upon the individual. (Hamilton 19).

In contrast to King’s origin in the southern African-American middle class, Malcolm X was a product of the Northern poor African-American masses. Born in Omaha Nebraska, Malcolm was the son of a Baptist preacher. However, Malcolm became a minister of the religion of Islam. Malcolm X joined Elijah Muhammad and created a movement that focused around the word power, not love and virtue. “Psychologically they argued that violence was a healthy way to release the pain of oppression and that to love people who hate you is unnatural”(Walton 90).

Like Martin, Malcolm spent many years preparing for his vocation as a minister and public speaker, but unlike Martin, who earned his doctorate, Malcolm’s formal education ended in eighth grade. Malcolm often introduced himself for public debates by starting off with, “Gentlemen, I finished the eighth grade in Mason, Michigan. My high school was the black ghetto of Roxbury, Massachusetts. My college was in the streets of Harlem, and my master’s was taken in prison”(X and Haley 282).

Martin Luther King had a dream. “A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream
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