Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X grew up in different environments. King was raised in a comfortable middle-class family where education was stressed. On the other hand, Malcolm X came from and underprivileged home. He was a self-taught man who received little schooling and rose to greatness on his own intelligence and determination. Martin Luther King was born into a family whose name in Atlanta was well established. Despite segregation, Martin Luther King's parents ensured that their child was secure and happy.
Malcolm X was born on May 19, 1925 and was raised in a completely different atmosphere than King, an atmosphere of fear and anger where the seeds of bitterness were planted. The burning of his house by the Ku Klux Klan resulted in the murder of his father. His mother later suffered a nervous breakdown and his family was split up. He was haunted by this early nightmare for most of his life.
From then on, he was driven by hatred and a desire for revenge.
The early backgrounds of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King were largely responsible for the distinct different responses to American racism. Both men ultimately became towering icons of contemporary African-American culture and had a great influence on black Americans. However, King had a more positive attitude than Malcolm X, believing that through peaceful demonstrations and arguments, blacks will be able to someday achieve full equality with whites. Malcolm X's despair about life was reflected in his angry, pessimistic belief that equality is impossible because whites have no moral conscience. King basically adopted on an integrationalist philosophy, whereby he felt that blacks and whites should be united and live together in peace. Malcolm X, however, promoted nationalist and separatist doctrines. For most of his life, he believed that only through revolution...