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Civil Rights Essay Essay, Research Paper

Land of the Free

The United States was founded on the principles of freedom and democracy. But the failure of our founding fathers to expel the racist nature of our society. This nature led to the American Civil War, and the Black American Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. Oppressed nation wide, African-Americans needed leaders for their struggle for true equality. These leaders were Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Though both were sons of Southern Baptist preachers, their situations led them to lead starkly contrasting lives. Dr. King, with his gospel of nonviolence and peace gave him much more white support, but Malcolm X and his self called “realistic” doctrine gained surprising support for the Nation of Islam. The two wanted different things, but both called for an end to injustice in the United States.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a born in Atlanta, Georgia. His family was well off, and he led a fairly comfortable life. His home life was very strong, and Dr. King was impressed with the way his father stood up to white racists. He entered college at Morehouse in Atlanta determined to help his people. In contrast, Malcolm Little was not as well off. His family was forced by racists out of his home in Omaha, and they found similar difficulties in Lansing, Michigan. Malcolm’s father was killed when he was very young, and this led to his eventual life on the streets. He developed a feeling of racial inferiority on the streets. Malcolm Little used drugs, dated a white woman and even straightened his hair to appear whiter. This life of drugs and crime led to the inevitable, and Malcolm ended up in prison. It was in prison that he became Malcolm X. He began to educate himself rapidly, and under the teachings of a fellow inmate, converted to the Nation of Islam. After he was released from prison Malcolm X joined the ranks of the elite in his recruiting for the Muslim faith. He told the down trodden blacks that the Negro was superior and the white man was inherently evil. Malcolm also justified the use of violence. He called for a separate nation for blacks. This doctrine was a total reverse of the emerging mainstream civil rights movement. The NAACP and Dr. King called for loving your enemy and passive resistance. The great many demonstrations and marches led by Dr. King were totally ridiculous in Malcolm’s eyes.

“Any time you know you’re within the law, within your legal rights, within your moral rights, in accord with justice, then die for what you believe in. But don’t die alone. Let your dying be reciprocal. This is what is meant by equality.”

These words spoken by Malcolm X are vaguely similar to those written by Dr. King in his Letter From Birmingham Jail. In it, he states that he would “openly advocate disobeying that countries anti-religious laws.” (Referring to Nazi Germany.) It seems that both great leaders believe in supporting your cause, but Dr. King’s absolute belief in nonviolence that sets the two apart. This becomes especially true when Malcolm X makes his trip to Mecca. The softening of his views proceeding this life changing trip brought him closer and closer to the passive views of Dr. King. Unfortunately, Malcolm was murdered before he could fully grow after his trip to the Muslim holy city.

I feel his murder so soon following his great awakening is a greater tragedy that most would admit. Because he had just begun to amend his erred propaganda of the passed; we never truly saw how the experience had changed him. Perhaps he would have been move successful in his plight for African-American rights had he shifted his views more mainstream. After all, It was Martin Luther King who gained notoriety with his winning of the Noble Peace Prize in 1963, it was Dr. King who had his incarceration in Birmingham so publicized and admired among both blacks and whites. That is what set Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. apart from Malcolm X and countless other Civil Rights Activists. The fact that he not only preached nonviolent obstruction to American racism, which appealed to mainstream white America, but he did so on an international level, and kept his composure while doing it. In the end, the persistence of Malcolm X in his embrace of violence is what kept him from the largest accomplishment achieved by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Martyrdom.

Land of the Free

The United States was founded on the principles of freedom and democracy. But the failure of our founding fathers to expel the racist nature of our society. This nature led to the American Civil War, and the Black American Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. Oppressed nation wide, African-Americans needed leaders for their struggle for true equality. These leaders were Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Though both were sons of Southern Baptist preachers, their situations led them to lead starkly contrasting lives. Dr. King, with his gospel of nonviolence and peace gave him much more white support, but Malcolm X and his self called “realistic” doctrine gained surprising support for the Nation of Islam. The two wanted different things, but both called for an end to injustice in the United States.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a born in Atlanta, Georgia. His family was well off, and he led a fairly comfortable life. His home life was very strong, and Dr. King was impressed with the way his father stood up to white racists. He entered college at Morehouse in Atlanta determined to help his people. In contrast, Malcolm Little was not as well off. His family was forced by racists out of his home in Omaha, and they found similar difficulties in Lansing, Michigan. Malcolm’s father was killed when he was very young, and this led to his eventual life on the streets. He developed a feeling of racial inferiority on the streets. Malcolm Little used drugs, dated a white woman and even straightened his hair to appear whiter. This life of drugs and crime led to the inevitable, and Malcolm ended up in prison. It was in prison that he became Malcolm X. He began to educate himself rapidly, and under the teachings of a fellow inmate, converted to the Nation of Islam. After he was released from prison Malcolm X joined the ranks of the elite in his recruiting for the Muslim faith. He told the down trodden blacks that the Negro was superior and the white man was inherently evil. Malcolm also justified the use of violence. He called for a separate nation for blacks. This doctrine was a total reverse of the emerging mainstream civil rights movement. The NAACP and Dr. King called for loving your enemy and passive resistance. The great many demonstrations and marches led by Dr. King were totally ridiculous in Malcolm’s eyes.

“Any time you know you’re within the law, within your legal rights, within your moral rights, in accord with justice, then die for what you believe in. But don’t die alone. Let your dying be reciprocal. This is what is meant by equality.”

These words spoken by Malcolm X are vaguely similar to those written by Dr. King in his Letter From Birmingham Jail. In it, he states that he would “openly advocate disobeying that countries anti-religious laws.” (Referring to Nazi Germany.) It seems that both great leaders believe in supporting your cause, but Dr. King’s absolute belief in nonviolence that sets the two apart. This becomes especially true when Malcolm X makes his trip to Mecca. The softening of his views proceeding this life changing trip brought him closer and closer to the passive views of Dr. King. Unfortunately, Malcolm was murdered before he could fully grow after his trip to the Muslim holy city.

I feel his murder so soon following his great awakening is a greater tragedy that most would admit. Because he had just begun to amend his erred propaganda of the passed; we never truly saw how the experience had changed him. Perhaps he would have been move successful in his plight for African-American rights had he shifted his views more mainstream. After all, It was Martin Luther King who gained notoriety with his winning of the Noble Peace Prize in 1963, it was Dr. King who had his incarceration in Birmingham so publicized and admired among both blacks and whites. That is what set Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. apart from Malcolm X and countless other Civil Rights Activists. The fact that he not only preached nonviolent obstruction to American racism, which appealed to mainstream white America, but he did so on an international level, and kept his composure while doing it. In the end, the persistence of Malcolm X in his embrace of violence is what kept him from the largest accomplishment achieved by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Martyrdom.


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