Comparison of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. in the Civil Rights Movement

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Throughout the Civil Rights Movement, many leaders emerged that captured the attention of the American public. During this period, the leaders' used different tactics in order to achieve change. Of two of the better-known leaders, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., the latter had a more positive influence in the progress of the movement. Each of these two leaders had different views on how to go about gaining freedom. While King believed a peaceful means would allow the blacks to achieve equality with the white Americans, Malcolm X took a more pessimistic approach. He believed achieving equality was nearly impossible and preached a more separatist doctrine. Each man's beliefs were formed in their youth. King was raised in a…show more content…
King was an excellent speaker and preacher at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama and rose in the ranks at the beginning of the movement during the Montgomery Bus-boycott. His teachings encouraged more peaceful movements such as sit-ins; the freedom rides and the famous Selma-Montgomery march for voting rights. Some of this call for peaceful change can be seen in the quote by King when receiving his Nobel Peace Prize,
Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
Martin Luther King Jr., December 11, 1964

Even though his call for unarmed resistance, many of the movements actions were often met with force and resistance from white southerners. Often the participants in the movement were threatened, harassed, and thrown into jail. These actions taken by the whites were only met with still peaceful means and King discouraged retaliation. A classic example of this is when his home was bombed in Montgomery and he stood on his front stoop to encourage the neighborhood who wanted to take up arms, saying that
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