Courageous Civil Rights Fighters

By; Stephania Torres

Martin Luther King jr v. Malcolm Little

Martin Luther King jr and Malcolm Little were very different and similar in their life time.


Most people know the famous Martin Luther King jr, civil rights activist, creator and speaker of the speech "I Have a Dream". But many people don't know about his opposite , Malcolm Little a.k.a. Malcolm X. Malcolm was also a freedom fighter, unlike King, he used self defense. Little had a combative personality. King didn't used violence at all. King was a Christian and Little was an orthodox Muslim, which made Little have a closed mind about people who were white. King got a good education and a degree in college, even though many other African American didn't go to college. Little was one of these people, he had to self-teach himself. King grew up in a home with a nice middle class family and Little grew up ghetto with few family members. King wanted equality for all, which King stated in the famous "I Have a Dream" speech at Lincoln Memorial. Little thought equality for everyone wasn't a dream, but a nightmare. Malcolm only wanted freedoms for his race.


Even though Malcolm only wanted to get rights for blacks, King and Little had a lot in common. For starters they both fought for equal rights between whites and colored. If they couldn't stop segregation, they both knew that if whites didn't welcome them, blacks would have to like themselves. They didn't let there people be overwhelmed by segregation. Since they were big believers in showing black pride, they went to jail a lot for standing up for what they saw was right. This showed many courage and inspire African Americans to stand up and fight for equality. They marched and gave speeches, showing courage to stand up. They even gave speeches together and marched together. Sadly because of their courage in doing what's right, they were both killed. Both shot to death. Malcolm died on 1965, February 21and Martin on April 4, 1968.

King and Little both showed courage to fight for equality. They were similar and different in many ways. These men where the best at fighting for rights and they had the courage to show it.

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Freedom Fighters Courageous Actions Timeline 1948-1965

In July 26, 1948 President Truman of the United States signed the Executive Order 9981 which states equality of race, color, religion and national origin in Washington DC. Which takes courage to sign because you need all the other house of congress to agree.

May 17, 1954 the Supreme Court ruled that the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas would be passed to stop segregation in public schools. Leading 6 years old Ruby Bridges to attend William Frantz Elementary School, an all white school. Ruby showed courage going to school due to she was hated by the whites cause of her race.

December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat at the front of the colored section of the bus to a white man. Causing the Montgomery Bus boycotts. Rosa Parks had courage cause she knew that she was going to jail if she didn't give up her seat.

September 1957 in Little Rock, Arkansas nine teenage colored students attend an all white public school named Little Rock Central High School. They are known as "Little Rock Nine". These teenagers have courage on the grounds that they kept coming to school even though white students tried to block the entrance.

February 1, 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina four colored black students walked in and sat down at a whites-only lunch counter and asked for coffee. They weren't served, launching the sit-ins. The students wouldn't leave with out being served their drinks. This took courage due to the colored who did the sit-ins were treated and attacked. Even though the were abused physically and verbally the activist kept seated and nonviolent.

April 16, 1963 Martin Luther King jr is arrested and jailed. When in jail Martin writes the "Letter from Birmingham Jail." King had courage knowing his actions might make him go to jail for standing up for his race. He went 30 times total after going Birmingham jail for his nonviolent protests against racial segregation.

August 28,1963 King gives his eloquent and famous "I Have A Dream" speech at Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. When he spoke he inspired others to have courage to fight against racial segregation and injustice.

March 7, 1965 a peaceful march on Sunday took place, but it didn't stay peaceful for long. State police were waiting for the activist. When the activist showed the police shot tear gas at them. This is known as Bloody Sunday. Many people had to go to the hospital. Some were even killed. This took the US by surprise. Few days later more people showed up to march with the activist. They did not yield. They were resolved to find a solution to segregation. They marched the same route they were going to doing. This takes courage after going though Bloody Sunday. They showed they weren't scared and kept standing up for equal racial rights due to how many people were hurt.

Segregation was the Problem, Courage was the Solution

Segregation in the US was with whites and colored. Colored, black, dirty are some of the names whites gave African American. Whites thought they were the superior race instead of blacks. Since slavery ended the South passed the segregation law which give whites power and better places to eat, hang out, learn and more. Leaving colored people to have the bad half of everything. Some people stood up and said no to this law like Martin Luther King jr, Ruby Bridges, Malcolm Little, Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks and others. Many others, including King fought for their rights and this is what they dad.

"Many people came together and marched into places with segregation and protested against segregation" ("National Humanities Center"). One of the most famous marches was the march from Montgomery to Salem. During these marches police tried to violently stop the peaceful the peaceful activist. police shot tear gas and water from a water hose, made police dogs attack them, and there were many acts police violence. One of the most violent attack was named Bloody Sunday.

Another peaceful act the freedom fighters did is speak. They spoke about inequality of race. They spoke there mind even though people some times didn't listen. When they spoke many people went to jail. They went to jail for giving an option on equal rights for colored. The most popular and inspiring speech was " I Have a Dream" by Martin Luther King jr at Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC August 28, 1963. Giving courage to people to stand up and know equality is worth fighting for. Marches and speeches is not all that they did. They did dinner sit-ins due to colored couldn't sit down and have food. Bus boycotts because colored could only enter through the back of the bus and only sit in the colored section in the back. Kids and teenagers went to all white schools to get a better education. They couldn't even enter the school because a blockade of students tried to stop them from entering. No matter how scared they were they showed courage. The courage to stand up and say "no more". Courage to stay peaceful no matter how many acts of violence or threats from others. These people, these activist didn't give up to get equal rights. These people could loss everything for fighting for their rights. They lost their jobs, homes, friends, or more. These people inspired others to stand up and fight. These people gave hope. They were light for people trapped in the darkness of inequality. A shield of equality against the weapons of racism that came upon them. Their ambitions helped get people freedoms in the South that they didn't have before.To solve a problem you just don't need the variables. You need to have courage and hope. That's what they had. Courage and hope spread out by a group of people. They were against something impossible to stop, but with courage they did just that. Segregation was the problem, they were the solution.

Martin Luther King - I Have A Dream Speech - August 28, 1963

Causes Of Segregation

Segregation was an unequal time in the South. Whites had all the power and the good side of everything. Colored people had the bad side because of the separation between colored and whites. Segregation was unfair. Everyone dealt with it differently. Some used violence to get want they wanted or to stop someone. Others had a more peaceful and politically approach. This was caused by the Jim Crow law. Separating whites and blacks. These are some reactions of people because of segregation.

People like Martin Luther King jr, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, and more people used peaceful acts to get equality. These people are called civil rights activist or freedom fighters. They tried to change people's minds about segregation by giving speeches, marching or going to solve the problems politically. They never used violence to solve their problem. They didn't use violence even if they were attacked by others. They didn't fight even if they opposing side preapproved them. They always turned the other cheek. Some whites didn't think the Jim Crow law was fair. They weren't adhere to the law. They were not idle. They helped get rights to the people that needed it. Even though they helped the colored, white activist had it better versus the colored activist with getting into problems. They didn't go to jail for a long time like the other black freedom fighters. They were abused less by the mobs. The freedom fighter had courage to stay peaceful no matter what. They had a more peaceful approach than others.

Even with the peaceful protest and activists there was violence between the two races. Some freedom fighters used violence to defend themselves against the whites. Many whites verbally and physical abused activists. A lot police hurt African American for protesting. They even put them in jail. A few whites were arrested for their violence. Instead the police arrested the activist especially if they were black. There were groups that used violence on both sides of the argument. The most famous group that hated colored was the KKK. They killed, burned and hurt blacks or African American places who wanted equality. They were adhere to the Jim Crow law. They group attacked local African places. They burned colored people's homes, work places, churches and restaurants. The other side wasn't better. Blacks also injured many whites who were pro-segregation.

These were some effects that segregation caused. Many were peaceful. Some were violent. Most whites were pro-segregation. Most colored people were anti-segregation. What ever side you were on, it took courage to do what you believed in.

Civil Rights Acivists

Who were the civil rights activist?

Civil rights activist were people who fought for freedoms and rights. Many people who were in the South during the segregation era fought for equality for colored people. Segregation was between the whites and colored people of the former Confederacy.

What was the Jim Crow Laws?

Since Abe Lincoln freed the slaves the South made the Jim Crow law. The Jim Crow law states black man can't not offer his hand to a white man. Blacks and whites can not eat together. Blacks can not show public affection. Black men can not show their intelligence in front of a white man. And much, much more that a colored person could not do. This law separated whites and colored entirely. Places in the South had whites only places or colored only places. Since whites were "superior" they had the better side of the law. They got better schools, dinning places, water fountains, bathrooms, towns, jobs and more. The list goes on and on.

Who Fought the Jim Crow Laws?

Many people fought segregation because it was unfair. Some didn't because you could end up arrested, hurt or even killed. People who fought like Martin Luther King jr, Rosa Parks and Ruby Bridges had courage. These people showed courage when no one else stood up. They were brave enough to say "no".

Who was Martin Luther King jr?

King is the most well known civil rights activist due to his speech at Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC "I Have a Dream". His dream was that everyone will have equal rights. He was a minster in his local church who was an inspiration to everyone. Even though he wasn't an inspiration for many whites during his time. He still had courage. Even though he went to jail he didn't give up on his dream. He never used violence to solve a problem. Even when his house was burned down by whites, putting his family in danger and he did not use violence. He was important person to the civil rights acts. He was even given a holiday for his actions of courage. Sadly he died April 4, 1968 before his dream came true.

Who was Rosa Parks?

Rosa Parks was the women who started and influenced the Montgomery Bus boycotts. She went to jail for not giving a white man a seat in the front colored section of the bus. She had courage to not give up even though she knew she was going to jail. The Montgomery Bus boycott lead to the down fall of buses getting enough money to do their jobs. Many African American took part in the boycott. They didn't take the bus. They walked to work, school, food markets, dinning places. They walked every where. Buses were losing money. The state was losing money. Due to the lack of money the government passed a law to stop segregation in bus of Montgomery. She died October 24, 2005. December 1, 1955 is when the Supreme Court yielded and said "the segregation laws in buses was unconstitutional".

Who is Ruby Bridges?

Ruby Bridges went to an all white school named William Frantz Elementary School. She was only six years old when she attend Frantz Elementary. She had to show courage because when she went to school she was blocked from entering the school. She had to be escorted by federal marshals. When she passed the mob blocking her from getting into the school, she did not filch. She did not show that she was scared. She did not cry. She stayed strong. Later in her life she went to business school. She became a travel agent. She married and had four children. She wrote her own book called "Through My Eyes" in 1999. Sharing her story about how she was resilience and brave. She also goes to schools and teaches kids equality. She teaches kids about how you shouldn't judge a person because of their race or skin color.

How did Activists show courage?

The freedom fighters showed courage by sticking up for their race. The peaceful activist stayed peaceful. They didn't show the fear or pain the opposing side caused. They had the ability to know what is wrong. They stood up for they believe in. And the most important is that they never let others get to them and they never gave up.

Pictures/Bibiography/Video Cites


"Differences Between Martin Luther King and Malcolm X." DifferencesBetween, 9 May 2011. Web. 29 May 2015.

"Civil Rights Timeline." Info Please. Pearson Education Inc., Feb. 2013. Web. 29 May 2015.

"The Civil Rights Movement: 1919-1960s." National Humanities Center. TeacherServe, Apr. 2010. Web. 29 May 2015.

Crystal, Garry. "Black Civil Rights History." Civil Rights Movement. CivilRightsMovements, 22 May 2015. Web. 29 May 2015.

"Civil Rights History Project." Library of Congress. Untied States Legislative Infromation, 2000. Web. 29 May 2015.