Two race men both working for the dream of equality for their people. While Martin Luther King Jr. main goal was for non-violence, and an end to all racial segregation, Malcolm believed in by whatever means necessary to accomplish a separate nation. The different tactics that they implied to make these dreams a reality come from the upbringings that they had as children.
Malcolm was originally born in Omaha. His family picked up and moved later to Lansing, Michigan were Malcolm’s father was murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan after number of death threats were made to the family. From his father’s death and the poverty that the family was facing g the mother of eight suffered a nervous breakdown, and the welfare department took her eight children away from her. After the separation Malcolm was sent first to a foster home and later to a reform school. Malcolm moved to Boston after his eighth grade year in school. In Boston he became involved with criminal activity while working various jobs for cash. In the mid 1940’s Malcolm was sentenced to jail for theft. During his stay as a prisoner, Malcolm became infatuated with the believes and teachings of Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm spent most of his time while in jail learning about Black Muslims who advocated racial separation. Malcolm was released from incarceration in 1952. He became involved with a Black Muslim temple in Detroit, where in a few years he was recognized as their most prominent spokesperson for the nation of Islam. During the time that he spent working in Detroit is when Malcolm took up the name, Malcolm X.
On the other side of the spectrum, there was a sheltered kid by the name Martin Luther King Jr. King was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the oldest son of Martin Luther King Sr., a Baptist preacher, and Alberta Williams King. As a child King attended segregated schools where he quickly himself as being intellectually elite from the rest of his peers. King went on to skip two grade levels before entering Morehouse University at the age of 15. He graduated from Morehouse with a bachelor’s degree in sociology; he was also the class Victorian. He furthered his education after Morehouse at colleges like Crozer, and Boston. While in college, Martin studied the non-violent Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi.
King was brought up in a perfect atmosphere where love and dreams could be conjured. He was raised in a comfortable middle class household where strong values matured his belief of self-value. On the other hand Malcolm was raised in hellish conditions. Conditions that would leave anyone with anger and revenge brewing on his or her mind. King had a much more positive attitude then Malcolm, believing that through peaceful demonstrations and arguments, blacks someday will be able to have full equality with whites. Malcolm’s negative attitude on live was reflected in his angry, pessimistic belief that equality was impossible because whites have no moral conscience. Malcolm promoted nationalist and separatist worlds for blacks and whites. He strongly felt that only through revolution sand force could blacks grasp their place in society. King believed in an integrationist philosophy, were as he believed that blacks and whites should be united together in peace.
Even though their messages were different, they were both delivered the same way, through hard-noised speeches. These speeches were delivered in different styles as well as different purposes. King was a peaceful leader who urged non-violence for his followers. He traveled giving peaceful speeches encouraging black and white listeners alike to work together in racial harmony. Malcolm for the most part believed that non-violence and integration was a trick by the whites to keep blacks in their place. He was furious with white racism and told his followers to rise up and fight against their white enemies.
As the leaders lives begin to come to a closing, King and Malcolm’s beliefs became more and more alike. Malcolm emphasized unity and change through black pride and respect for oneself, rather then through revenge and hate. While on the other hand, King became angry at the lack of progress that he had made on equality. He began encouraging non-violent sabotage, which includes blocking the normal the normal functioning government. At one point, when the two leaders tactics were at the point of highest similarities, Malcolm X even wanted to join forces with King. Both men believed that if blacks were to obtain their freedom that they first needed to achieve self-respect. However Malcolm’s speeches, when in his prime, were given with a revolutionary tone which would make his listeners have hatred of White America. While in his prime, King was an equally strong speaker, although most of his speeches were given to encourage whites and blacks to work together in racial harmony.
To many these two leaders were heroes of the civil rights movement. To many they started to lose site on their main beliefs, forcing them to change tactics towards the end of their lives. No matter how people see these two great leaders, I will always see them as two men who shared an equal dream. It does not matter were the inspiration for it came from, what is really important is the fact that they never let go of that dream. The dream that on e day their people will be free from racism and oppression. These two leaders were truly in a league of their own. A league so elite that only the two of them could truly vision the world that they were trying so hard to help build.