Segregation and the Civil Rights Movement

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Create a chart or diagram to compare and contrast Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

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Murl Larson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I will compare and contrast the two leaders—my advice would be to put this information in a Venn diagram, with the commonalities of the two leaders in the middle and their differences in the separate part of the circles.  Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights leader who organized boycotts and peaceful protests.  His position as an evangelical pastor made him popular with all but the most strident segregationists.  King was known for his speeches where he envisioned a world where black and white people could live together—this is most eloquently put in King's "I Have a Dream" speech.  

Malcolm X was a member of the Nation of Islam and he viewed separation of the two races as the most acceptable way to achieve justice.  Early in his speaking career, he argued that the white race would fail and that black people were superior to whites.  He accused leaders such as Martin Luther King as being too soft.  Malcolm X spoke to the anger that some African Americans felt having lived under segregation.  Malcolm X would eventually separate from the Nation of Islam and adopt a more moderate message, but he still argued for black political participation in order to achieve civil rights goals.  

Both leaders were assassinated—Malcolm X in 1965 by a member of the Nation of Islam, and King in 1968 by a segregationist.  Both men were controversial in that they were arguing to change the status quo.  Both men were also against the war in Vietnam. The Vietnam War claimed a higher percentage of black than white lives.  

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