Civil Rights Equality And Equity: Malcolm X And Martin Luther King Jr.

The 1960’s epitomize the civil rights struggle in the United States (US). The struggle to advocate for equality and equity was mainly led by two distinct movements. The movements were headed by two men who have outlived history because of their devotion and fight for the black man’s freedom: Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Every man had different thinking and ways of dominating the public consciousness and achieving black man liberation.

Therefore, there are two contrasting but also similar approaches exemplified by Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement. Malcolm X approach was aimed at liberating the African-Americans to be self-reliant economically and culturally. On the other hand, Martin Luther King Jr. aimed at ensuring that black people were completely integrated in the American society through non-violent protest. Their approach to the emancipation of the black people seems different, but the leaders conquered in various ways. Below is a look at their approach based on “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. were provident speakers of mid-twentieth-century America. They succeeded in persuading their followers through fluent speaking and writing. Both leaders exemplified influential oratory authority that successfully attracted a large following across the nation. Malcom X drew a massive following of Islam believers, and Martin Luther King Jr. pulled many Christians (Owens, 40). Their message was also expressed with sincerity in pushing for the course they were fighting for. The strategy was largely successful in making for civil rights, equality, and equity.

However, the leaders differed on the best approach to fight for equal rights and justice for the black man. Malcolm X was mainly supported by the Black Power, a group of black men from the informal ghetto community. The black power believed in using threats and a violent philosophy. Further, Malcom X’s autobiography indicates that the African Americans were colonists in America and not part of the American society. Therefore, the Black Power leaders viewed the black people as a colony under the supremacy of the oppressive white power. Malcom X emphasized killing through guns and war by the Black Power in his writings and speeches (Owens, 35). He was straightforward in representing his view and was time and again looked at as a dangerous radicalized individual.

The autobiography and Birmingham letter show a complete contrast in the approach deployed by Martin Luther King Jr. in pushing for civil rights, equality, and equity. King, through his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” advocated for a non-violent approach. He argued that there was no need for violent defense, choosing to emphasize non-violent resistance. King strongly stated that the African Americans were very much a part of the America dream. King underscored the principle of indirect resistance to allure to the kindness of the white supremacists to grant fairness to African Americans (Owens, 24). He never contradicted the traditional American dream.

Despite the differences in approach, the black people realized various successes for their struggle in the 1960s. The major success was the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act in 1964-65. In addition, the government eliminated segregation in schools, hotels and restaurants, and other public amenities. People also got the right to play a part in the political process.

Works Cited

Kerry, Owens. “The Dual Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: The Heroic Narratives of Martin Luther King, Jr. And Malcolm X”. Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College, 1995.