Differences Between Martin Luther King and Malcolm X

Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were two of the most prominent African American leaders in the history of the country. Both came to prominence during the 1960s, when the black population of America was ever more determined to get equal rights for themselves. King supported a non-violent movement for attaining equal rights for everyone. On the other hand Malcolm had a very aggressive approach towards achieving this very task.

Martin’s ‘I Have a Dream’ and Malcolm’s ‘By Any Means Necessary’ speeches explain their respective approaches. Yet despite their different struggles for gaining equal rights, both of these men ended up being killed for what they stood for, and are considered as American heroes in modern times.


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    Martin Luther King

    Martin Luther King was a well-educated man. The presence of loving parents and the best circumstances a middle-class family could provide, allowed him the ideal grooming. He received higher education and had a thorough understanding of the matters that surrounded him.

    King had no criminal record whatsoever when he rose to prominence. He had a charismatic personality, one that was enhanced due to his vast knowledge on different matters around him.

    Martin Luther King was a wonderful orator, even during the times of his youth. He had the ability to move crowds with his words, as he delivered his speeches with real passion.

    King advocated the idea for equality. His famous speech, ‘I Have a Dream’ laid the foundation for an America where every citizen had equal rights no matter whatever the colour of their skin. His idea for equality reached its peak when more than 20,000 people attended his address at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. He preferred the non-violent approach towards achieving their goals

    Image Courtesy: writespirit.net

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    Malcolm X

    Malcolm X suffered one tragedy after another during his childhood. The American was forced to witness what we might call the worst of fates as his father was murdered when he was still a kid, his house was burnt down and his mother suffered a mental breakdown. And, to add to the long list of other unfair series of events that took place in his life, young Malcolm was also deprived of the basic educational facilities and didn’t attend school.

    Malcom had a very different background compared to that of compatriot. He was mostly self-taught and relied on seeking answers for questions that he felt curious about, rather than relying on someone else’s statement about it. He had no education at all, yet he gained knowledge about everything a well-literate man could possibly know about, perhaps even more.

    Malcolm X had a different vision for the black people. He believed that the black people should help each other in order to survive and compete against the white populace. He believed in taking their rights ‘By Any Means Necessary’. This slogan of his gained huge popularity back in the 1960's. However, when King’s successful speech at the Lincoln Memorial took place, his support diminished. Yet he still advocated his ideology, calling King’s ‘dream’ to be a ‘nightmare’.

    Malcolm was a Christian. However, his aggressive ideology was transformed into a more non-violent one when he visited Jerusalem and the Muslim Holy city of Mecca, after which he embraced Islam as his religion and started spreading the message of love.

    Image Courtesy: biography.com

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