Hist1025 - November 30, 2006 HIST 1025 Professor...

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November 30, 2006 HIST 1025 Professor Schulzinger TA Brandon Williams The Civil Rights Movements of the 1950s and 1960s was the most profound social movement in the history of the United States. In the midst of a war on foreign soil in Vietnam and extreme black oppression, two leaders with different yet complimentary ideas emerged. Both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were primary catalysts in this movement, which has changed the United States of America drastically and shaped the country into what it is today. While both these men had many things in common such as being oppressed African Americans, they came from entirely different backgrounds and held strong, opposing beliefs. Their final end goals for the African American race living in the U.S. were very different as were the means of achieving these goals. By looking at the early life of these two historical figures, one can plainly see that their upbringing and religious background shaped their beliefs and their tactics employed, in turn changing the lives of millions of Americans. While both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were fighting white oppression, their beliefs in a solution to this problem were intrinsically different. They both wanted to destroy black and white segregation, but from there they split on their ideas. As made clear by David Pitney in his Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and the Civil Rights Struggle of the 1950s and 1960s , “King and his competitors fought for the goal of racial integration” while “Malcolm’s Muslims spurned integration with “white devils” and urged separation.” (Whitney 2) Neither of these men were content with just
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outlawing segregation because that did not completely fix the problem. King Jr. desired that there be segregation by law but an integration through spirit and love as well. While the destruction of segregation was key to his final end, it was only half the battle in terms of complete black and white integration in society. Malcolm X, however had much less sympathy for the “white devils” as he saw them. He saw integration as futile and hopeless for to him the “white-Christian America [was] evil to its core and felt whites behave demonically because they were made that way.” (Whitney 2) The evil in the white race was innate and could not be solved. The only possible solution was complete and total separation from this race including cutting off all contact as well. The two differing opinions on the solutions to the racial problems of the time are interesting because one would expect similar reactions from two men facing similar problems. However, when looked at closely, the upbringings and social backgrounds of Martin and Malcolm differ substantially. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X both experienced extreme prejudice, but it
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2008 for the course HIST 1025 taught by Professor Funk,merle during the Fall '07 term at Colorado.

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Hist1025 - November 30, 2006 HIST 1025 Professor...

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