Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King & Malcolm X

Essay by justathoughtCollege, UndergraduateA-, March 2006

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The perception of reporters, political leaders and the public was that Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were opponents in the Civil Rights Movement. They were portrayed that way in the media but in reality they were not rivals, they were both dedicated to the same goals. They differed in opinion on how to reach the goal, but even their opinions were not that far apart. Each had a strong opinion which was conditioned against the reality of American culture and laws in the Cold War era. Martin Luther King Jr. believed nonviolence was the best way to achieve the changes in American society that were needed for the Blacks in America to have equality, and Malcolm X believed that without the threat of violence the American society would never consider change. Both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X agreed on what the problem was and what needed to change in order to achieve their goals, the African American population had to be given the rights denied them by the American society.

"Living in the same era and struggling against the same prejudices, their leadership and destinies were inevitably entwined" (Howard-Pitney vii). Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X did not start the Civil Rights Movement; they saw the growing anger in the African American population and tried to channel that anger productively. These two men identified and itemized the problems facing blacks in America and sought an end to the prejudices and discrimination destroying the hopes of the children for the future.

The problems that MLK and Malcolm X found in the American society were not of their own making. Africans were brought against their will to this country and placed in the most vicious form of slavery - slavery from which there was no escape, and...