In the 1960’s there was an uprising of sorts. The “black” communities were beginning to realize their constitutional rights…or the lack there of. There were a few bold souls that decided to take a stand, no matter what the consequences. Many know of Rosa Parks, the woman who decided to take a stand (no pun intended) on a local bus, refusing to give up her seat near the front and move to the back. Others participated at “sit in’s” inside diners labeled “whites only”. For every attempt of expressing their desire and need for equality, all efforts were shot down. There was no unity, no one to rally the hearts and minds of blacks and whites alike. But then a pastor from Montgomery Alabama leaded the largest civil rights boycott against busses to date. Through his soothing voice and outstanding charisma, Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the strongest and most influential civil rights activists. But he was not alone in his drive for equality. There were others fighting for the same cause. One of those zealots was a man named Malcolm Little (later ditched his “slave name” and picked up X to signify his lost tribal name).
Both men were similar in many ways, but yet at the same time were very, very different. in his speeches Malcolm refers to himself and his followers as Black Nationalist Freedom Fighter. He viewed the “white supremacists” as enemies. In his speeches he talks about how the white politicians hired black and white promoters to go into the black neighborhoods to press the flesh for them promising false promises. His belief of Black Nationalism is that they stay away from their enemy. Create their own community and have their own politicians who have the communities’ interests at heart. If you can take notice in his speeches he is not trying to get the blacks to beg for equality or ask to end segregation. He is saying that blacks should unite together and fight against their common enemy. The philosophy of Black Nationalism can be enforced no matter what your religion, he makes points that they don’t hang you because you are Lutheran, Christian, or Muslim, they hang you because you are black. He states in several other occasions that these sit in’s cannot accomplish anything. They must take action to affect the crackers. He refers to the Revolution war, how the little tea boycott did not work, how the Americans were tired of being taxed and oppressed and compares it to the struggle for black rights.
These are just a few points that Malcolm makes in his speeches. On the flip side, The man, Martin Luther King Jr. gives several speeches concerning the freedom and the relief from oppression of the black people. For example, in his “I Have A Dream” Speech, 200 Thousand people, black and white, have gathered to hear the inspiring wordsof Martin Luther King Jr. He asks those gathered to ask the government for their constitutional right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Then he assures that there will be no rest until the blacks are granted and guaranteed civil rights. This next sentence, it is one of the biggest differences between MX and MLKJr. He said: “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred”. That statement is the biggest divider between the beliefs of Mr. X and Mr. King. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.” Is there a alternative motive in the eyes of Mr. King? I think not. In the eyes of Mr. X? I believe there is. If Black Nationalism had evolved, it would have resulted in a war. Not a war of words or of silent hate…but a violent war of death and destruction. All that Mr. King wanted was his constitutional rights for him and everyone across the globe. Before he was assassinated, Mr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize and an award of $54,000, which he promptly donated to his civil rights movement.
So through comparing the ideals and lives of both these great and influential men, we can see that they both have a same idea….but methods and desires for change are much different. Mr. King wanted to have a peace full protest, to open the eyes of the public, white or black; Whereas Mr. X wanted change, and he wanted it now.
Courtney from Study Moose
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