Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X: Icons for the Civil Rights Movement

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Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were two individuals who not only helped the African-American plight during the Civil Rights Movement, but served as icons to the history of their race. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X grew up in very different environments. King Jr. came from a middle class family where education was a significant value in his home life. Malcolm X, on the other hand, was raised in a foster home after his father’s murder and his mom was put into a mental institution. He was a self-taught individual who did not receive much in the way of a formal education. He grew as a leader with his motivation, intelligence and determination. However, both men were fierce advocates for civil rights and consider their blackness…show more content…
Malcolm X was pessimistic. He thought that equality between white and black people was impossible because whites had no moral conscience. Whereas King’s goal was for whites and blacks to live together in peace, X sought equality through forced acceptance. He believed that if everything was done through force he may be able to cause a revolt in society, allowing blacks a chance to earn their freedom, with muscle not mind. So, while their dreams were delivered in different styles, their purpose was the same. Malcolm wanted to revolt. He believed that non-violence and integration was a trick from the white man to keep the blacks under control. Trough his speeches, Malcolm X encouraged his followers to rise up and fight for their rights. Due to the childhoods of both of these men they react the way they do. It is sad to learn about how difficult it was for African-Americans to endure all the struggles they had to face to become free. In today’s society life is still hard, and racism is still around. However, we still manage to unite and live in peace with equal rights for both races. In King’s speech, I Have a Dream, he asks black people to never forget their dreams. King explains that in the eyes of God, black people are as good as any other race and they should be treated that way: “I have a dream that one day every valley will be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low,
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