Describe the different methods used by Malcolm X and Martin Luther King in campaign for civil rights? Essay

The long and hard road of the civil rights campaign saw many different methods and leaders influence the progress that it took. Along the road great leaders made it their duty to improve the civil rights situation in America, however the way in which they undertook their duty varied in style and temperament.

Here is a look at two of the greatest black leaders which inspired the civil rights campaign and how each targeted the situation they were trying to achieve towards the civil rights movement.

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Malcolm X was one of these great leaders. The way he tackled the civil rights movement was largely influenced by the upbringing he received. During his family life, Malcolm X saw his family continually being harassed and attacked by whites. This was to be made even worse when his father was suspiciously murdered, believed to be by whites. His father was a huge believer of Marcus Garvey, an early black leader which supported violence towards solving the civil rights campaign. In school Malcolm X was also discriminated against because of his colour, limiting the huge potential which he showed. His life continued to plummet, when he became involved with drugs and crime, eventually being sentence to jail for 8 years in 1945.

As can be seen whites had an extremely bad influence on Malcolm X’s early life, this making him bitter and critical towards the people which he loathed. When he eventually left prison in 1952 Malcolm X had been converted to the Nation of Islam, a black Muslim group in which he became a prominent speaker. He was able to put forward his views about the sense of black pride and power, wishing for it to increase and the black people to become united as a race. With his critical white background he believed that black and white people integration was not the key, largely similar to the ideas of Marcus Garvey.

Coming from the north, Malcolm X saw that whites were just as racist as in the south but in more subtle ways. The method towards the civil rights campaign followed his life as he believed that self defence against white aggression was perfectly acceptable. The violent views he showed were perceived by many to be a tool of fear towards the white and black community, hoping to achieve action in a way forward for black people.

Martin Luther King was another great black leader. However in contrast to Malcolm X, King had a different aim, strategy and feeling towards the civil rights movement. This was partly due to the differ in upbringing which King received. King grew up in the south of America in a sustained family with wealth, owning a local pasture. He was the victim of much discriminative actions from the whites, making him resent them just like Malcolm X. In the events of the Montgomery bus boycott, King was brought to the forefront of the civil rights movement, sustaining himself as a black leader towards black equality. The overall aim he looked for was to completely integrate the black and white community which he tried to do through the means of peaceful protest. Organising events at Washington and Birmingham, King tried to get the sympathy of the northern white middle class Americans which he saw as the driving force, if any change was to be made in the civil rights movement.

Overall it can be seen that the two different black leaders both had different styles of drive towards the civil rights movement. Malcolm X it can be seen used a much more tactful approach towards the movement, believing it was blacks who should support themselves. He had grown up with and seen the hardship that blacks were suffering in the north, through means of society and economy. Blacks he saw had no means for the equality which whites showed in the north if they could not afford and use it.

Martin Luther King was much the opposite. He believed in provoking a response for action by means of a peaceful protest. Coming from the south, King wanted to grant blacks the right to equality which they deserved. He had grown up in a wealthy family and so had not suffered from the same economic and social problems which Malcolm X had faced.

Both leaders were important towards the movement in the civil rights. Martin Luther King helped to change the situation in the south for blacks, while Malcolm X tackled the problem of the northern way of life for blacks. Both leaders as extremely important as the other.


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