Discuss three ways Martin Luther King Jr. differed from Malcolm X in his approach  to the movement for black civil rights? Did they share any similarities?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X differed not from their objectives with regards to the civil rights movement but more so from their philosophies and the means to achieve racial equality.

Martin Luther King based his push for civil rights on non violent means. He organized peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins to generate the much needed attention towards the plight of the blacks and minorities. Malcolm X on the other hand asserted that racial equality would be achieved by any means necessary including the use of violence if provoked. He asked his supporters to respond by physically defending themselves against racially instigated crimes.

Malcolm X accused the entire white community for the racial prejudice and the creation of black urban ghettos. He pointed to the contradicting belief among the majority white Christian who professed love as a central pillar of the religion but at the same time instigated hate against the blacks. On the other hand, Martin Luther King was selectively against whites who practiced and promoted racial discrimination and expanded this to cover anyone else who did the same.

Martin Luther King avoided the use of scathing language in his communication to ensure that his opinions were not misconstrued. On the other hand, Malcolm X made derisive remarks about the white community in most of his earlier communication prior his departure from the Nation of Islam (NOI).

Despite their glaring differences the two leaders shared the same agenda, which was to see the development of strong black institutions and the protection of individual rights and freedoms.