Martin Luther King and Malcolm X

Topics: Martin Luther King, Jr., Nonviolence, Malcolm X Pages: 5 (1715 words) Published: January 23, 2000
When people hear the word Civil Rights Movement, two
men automatically come to their minds, Martin Luther King
Jr. and Malcolm X. While both these men had very
different views and ideas, they also shared similarities. Part of the reason for their different views was because one was
in the South and the other was in the North. Martin saw a
Dream that could be fulfilled in the South and Malcolm saw
a Nightmare, which would never end in the North. Martin
and Malcolm were raised in very different homes. Martin
Luther King Jr. grew up in Atlanta; his family status was
that of the middle class, he never experienced poverty or
hunger like Malcolm did. Martin was raised in a loving and
supporting environment. His parents instilled in him the
importance of self-respect and self-help. They taught
Martin and his other siblings that they could make
something out of their lives despite the fact that the color of their skin was black. Martin's father was a prominent
preacher for the Ebenezer Baptist Church. His mother was
a member of the choir. Family and church were a big part
of Martin's childhood, and influenced his adult life and they way he chose to lead it. Unlike Martin's supportive family,
Malcolm Little, better known as Malcolm X, grew up in a
home that never knew what it meant to be in the middle
class; Malcolm's family grew up in the ghettos of the North. His parents never taught their children to love themselves
and be proud of who they were, because they themselves
had lost their self-respect. Malcolm's parents were very
abusive to their children and to each other, making the
home environment just as volatile as the surroundings
outside. Malcolm's parents were big supporters of Marcus
Garvey's teachings. His father was the president of the
Omaha branch of the UNIA, which was started by Garvey,
and his mother was the reporter for the meetings. Not only
were their religious backgrounds different and their social
class standings different, their educational history was also very different. Malcolm dropped out of school when he
was in the eighth grade. His parents never stressed the
importance of getting a good education and so he was
never motivated to stay in school. The rest of Malcolm's
education came from the ghettos of Boston and New
York, and eventually from the Charlestown Prison. Martin
on the other hand not only graduated from high school but
also went on to Moore House College. Martin not only
went to college, but he was a child prodigy, he went to
college at age fifteen. He also went to Crozer Seminary in
Pennsylvania. His parents also gave him the support he
needed to motivate him to stay in school. Going to school
was not always easy for either Malcolm or Martin.
Malcolm grew up in Lansing, Michigan, where schools
were integrated. At his junior high school, Malcolm
frequently heard the words, ""Nigger", "coon", "darkie",
and "Rastus." He heard these epithets so often they ceased
to be insulting; he thought of them as actual names."1 The
name-calling was not the worst of it though. One of the
most devastating moments for Malcolm was when he was
in the eighth grade. He told his English teacher that he
wanted to be a lawyer when he grew up. His teacher's
response was that a better career for him might be
carpentry. This of course was very insulting and was the
main reason why he left school. Although Martin never had
to grow up in the integrated North, he did have to go to
school in the segregated schools of Montgomery. Martin's
experiences with white people when he was young were
not bad. He even had a white friend whom he played with
until he entered school. After he entered school he, which
was all black, he did not have the same kind of exposure to
white people as he had had before. It did not really seem to effect Martin that much until the day the parents of his white friend said that he could no longer play with their son. They told Martin the reason...

Bibliography: Cone, James H. Martin and Malcolm and
America. New York: Orbis Books, 1991. Franklin, Robert
Michael. Liberating Visions: Human Fulfillment and Social
Justice in African-American Thought. Minneapolis: Fortress
Press, 1990. Perry, Bruce. Malcolm: The Life of a Man
Who Changed Black America. New York: Station Hill
Press, 1991. Williams, John A. The King God Didn 't Save.
New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1970.
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