Why was Malcolm X a better civil rights leader than MLK Jr.?

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Malcolm X was not a "better civil rights leader" than Martin Luther King, Jr. but a different one; though, toward the end of their lives their views began to converge.

Malcolm X was a controversial figure among the white establishment and also mainstream civil rights leaders, particularly those in the...

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Malcolm X was not a "better civil rights leader" than Martin Luther King, Jr. but a different one; though, toward the end of their lives their views began to converge.

Malcolm X was a controversial figure among the white establishment and also mainstream civil rights leaders, particularly those in the NAACP. His advocacy of black separatism, encouraged by the teachings of the Nation of Islam, fostered a blanket indictment of all white people, even those who attempted to be allies, as evil. On the other hand, this view also encouraged self-sufficiency and self-determination—values that Malcolm X maintained when he left the Nation of Islam and formed the Organization of Afro-American Unity in 1964.

Dr. King was also a controversial figure. Whites resented his refusal to slow the progress of integration and some blacks—particularly radical black nationalists, such as Malcolm X—viewed him as an "Uncle Tom" who foolishly sought to make peace with a lethal enemy.

Both King and Malcolm X sought for black people to have more equity and freedom in American life, and both focused their efforts particularly on elevating the plight of the poor. Malcolm X's career as a civil rights leader was based in impoverished Harlem. Dr. King worked not only on integration efforts but also to organize low-wage workers. He traveled to Memphis, Tennessee in April 1968 to help organize sanitation workers. For both men, poverty and racism were interrelated and required equal redress.

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