Civil Rights Leaders: Martin Luther King vs. Malcolm X shows differences between the two leaders' ways of trying to achieve rights for blacks in the struggle for Civil rights

Essay by GotRevenge4High School, 10th grade May 2004

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In the 1960's, there was much unrest going on in the United States. It was the civil rights movement. Black Americans wanted to be treated equally, and fairly, not only in regular life, but other aspects of the government. But these black people were not unorganized; they had leaders of their own. Although they were leading the same cause, they had different viewpoints about achieving the generic goal. Two of these leaders were Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

One of the two extremes between the way to gain civil rights was violence. The Man that took after this type of protest was named Malcolm Little. He considered his last name to be part of his slave past, as slave-owners had named their slaves with their own last names. Therefore, he changed it to X, hence Malcolm X. "Independence only comes in two ways--by ballots or bullets. Historically you'll find that everyone who gets freedom gets it through ballots or bullets.

Now naturally everyone prefers ballots, and even I prefer ballots, but I don't discount bullets. I'm not interested in either ballots or bullets; I'm interested in freedom." -Interview with Claude Lewis (December 1964). Now, although Malcolm said this, he also said "I think if there is a flowing of blood, it should be reciprocal. Black people shouldn't be willing to bleed unless white people are willing to bleed. And black people shouldn't be willing to be nonviolent unless white people are going to be nonviolent." -Interview with Claude Lewis (December 1964). Although in the first quote, he appeared to be willing to peace, in the second, he shows his true colors. He talks of only being nonviolent when whites become nonviolent, when; in fact, white people will not become nonviolent in the matter. He also knows that his...