Battle Between Giants

2 Men, 1 Goal

BACKGROUND

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta Georgia. He was originally named Michael King Jr. until his family had went to Europe and his father renamed him as Martin Luther King Jr. in honor of the German Protestant priest Martin Luther. MLK had went to Booker T. Washington High School and had skipped the 9th and 12th grade. He entered Morehouse College at the age of 15 without formally graduating high school. He graduated from college in 1948 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Then, he enrolled on Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania graduating with a Bachelors of Divinity in 1951. MLK went a step further and began his doctoral studies at Boston University and graduating with a Doctors in Philosophy in 1955. Martin had married Corretta Scott in 1953 and they had 4 children. MLK became the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama at the age of 25 in 1954.


MLK was not only a baptist minister, but also an activist, humanitarian, and leader in the on-going efforts in the Civil Rights Movement. His key motive was the advancement for African Americans in a non-violent means of civil disobedience. In 1955 he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He then founded the SCLC, or Southern Christian Leadership Conference. MLK was not always successful and this was evident in the Albany Movement. He quickly bounced back in 1963 leading the Birmingham protests and later the march on Washington D.C. MLK gave his most famous speech there. It was the "I have a Dream" speech which captivated the nation under MLK's amazing oratorical skills. His efforts in the Civil Rights Movement did not go unnoticed as he won the Nobel Peace Price in 1964. In his last few years of his life, he also focused on other key issues such as poverty and the war effort in Vietnam. Unfortunately, MLK was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was in the in the midst of planning a Washinton D.C. occupation in his "Poor People's Campaign". His death marked a huge tragedy as many cities went into chaos and riots.



Malcolm X was born as Malcolm Little on May 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. He was one of eight children in his family. His father, Earl Little, was a preacher. In his early childhood he and his family experience constant harassment from the KKK and proceeded to move to East Lansing where they experienced more racism. As a child, Malcolm had experienced a lot. Earl Little was murdered and the police ruled it as a suicide and his mother never recovered from the trauma and was put in a mental institution. Malcolm Little attended West Junior High School and was the only black kid. Though he was voted as class president and was well-liked, he felt like a pet to them. In 1939, a teacher had told Malcolm he could not be a lawyer and he later dropped out at 15 years old. He had moved to Boston and resorted to a life of selling drugs and committing crime. In 1946, he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of larceny. In jail, Malcolm had a ton of time to think and started reading books to catch up on his education. He also converted to the Nation of Islam while serving time in prison. Malcolm was released in 1952.


Malcolm had dropped his last name "Little" for "X" . He went to Detroit to work personally with Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam, to expand the movement. He soon became a minister of a few temples in Harlem and Philadelphia. Malcolm X was a radical, a gifted orator, and passionate individual. He wanted to fight racism with violence. The membership to the Nation of Islam increased from only 400 in 1952 to 40,000 in 1960. However, X left in 1964 when he found out Elijah Muhammad had violated his own teachings. X traveled throughout North Africa and the Middle East. It was a political and spiritual turning point in his life. Malcolm also made the Hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. He converted to traditional Islam and returned to the U.S. optimistic for peace. Unfortunately, he was assassinated by members of the Nation of Islam in February 21, 1965.

Martin Luther King Jr.

X

Outlook

No matter how you look at it, both men had the same goal in their movement but just had a different approach. Each man came from a different background and that explained how their path came to be. MLK was more fortunate while X came from nothing and went against all odds. MLK was the peaceful one while X was radical. Both died for what they fought for and believed in. Their impact will last forever.


I can see each man's approach. MLK truly believed anything could be achieved from peace. X believed in a more "fight or for it and you will achieve" way. MLK once said, "I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character". This clearly showed what he stood for. MLK stood for equality and peace among each other. Malcolm X once said, "Power in defense, of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression.. because power, real power, comes from our convition which produces action, uncompromising action". X shows his firm belief in actions speaking louder than words. He knew it was time to step up and do something about the issue.


MLK and Malcolm X were the same in my opinion. They both had their incredible impacts in history and were both killed for their beliefs.The only difference was their approach to the situation but used religion as their anchor. "History indicates that Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were prolific civil rights figures who had contrasting views on Black life. History would not be totally accurate. The two men had different approaches to getting results, but many times they were similar or even identical in philosophy — and shared some similarities large and small."

Martin Luther King, Jr. "I have a dream" Full speech (1963 Washington)
MALCOLM X: WHO TAUGHT YOU TO HATE YOURSELF?
Pastor Talks about the Impact of MLK
The Impact Of Malcolm X On My Life