The Difference in Leadership Styles of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King

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More than likely, the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's would not have had the same impact if they had been led by Malcolm X as opposed to being led by Martin Luther King. This notion is primarily attributed to the divergent ideologies professed by these men. Essentially, there were two fundamental differences in the pursuit of Civil Rights as advocated by King and X. The first dealt directly with the question of violence. Martin Luther King was a practitioner of the non-violent demonstrations that Mahatma Gandhi had popularized earlier in the 20th century (Carson, 2001, p. 27). The 'turn the other cheek' ideology propagated by Christianity was perfect in helping African Americans to adopt a martyr image that eventually was responsible for the so-called 'gains' that were earned via the civil rights movement. The second fundamental ideological difference between the pair is that King advocated integration, whereas X and some of his proponents in the latter portion of the 1950's were in favor of a separation of the races. What is important about this divergent viewpoint between these men is the fact that Caucasian Americans were not willing to allow an autonomous, powerful African American state within the borders of the U.S. which is what X desired early on in his career (Haley, 1987, p. 113). The alternative then, was to eventually, and stubbornly, yield to a form of integration in which African Americans still received poor treatment, run down housing, police brutality,
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