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Martin Luther Kings Strategy for Gaining Civil Rights and How It Differs from Malcolm X's Approach

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Martin Luther King organized widespread protests and bus boycott programs, which lasted for more than a year. Eventually, the US Supreme Court ruled that Alabama’ s segregation laws were unconstitutional (Huang). In August 1963, Martin Luther King addressed a large gathering of nearly two hundred thousand people in Washington.   This extraordinary speech is the famous I Have a Dream speech. In the same year, Time magazine named him the Man of the Year. In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The culmination of these incidents was that Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act and in the year 1965, Congress ratified the Voting Rights Act (Huang).

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X had been the pillars of the civil rights movement in the US. The exceptional power of and support for this movement shook the nation and impressed the rest of the world. The repercussions of that movement are evident even today. King and Malcolm belonged to the same age group, with a mere three years gap between them. They were assassinated within three years of each other and they were just thirty-nine years old when felled by white conspirators (Lewin).

Malcolm X had become the most effective supporter of the Nation of Islam by the year 1953. He traveled to Africa and Mecca in 1959. Meanwhile, Martin Luther King was established as a black leader in the US. Martin and Malcolm were unable to react in time to the upsurge in Southern black protests, which resulted from the students’ agitation including counter sit-ins of 1965. Malcolm X criticized and disregarded this upsurge of nonviolent activism. He dismissed Martin Luther King’ s ideology, which was based on non-violence.

He realized that the black rebellious groups would progress towards racial violence and Black Nationalism. Martin Luther King advocated nonviolent protests as they could usher in love and sympathy for blacks. Subsequently, Malcolm X publicly criticized Martin Luther King and other national civil rights leaders, who had deliberately, restrained militancy. He advocated racial integrity rather than a racial crisis (Carson). Martin Luther King was fully convinced that direct action in combination with nonviolence was the only effective means of protest for black people.

He was of the opinion that Malcolm’ s articulation was the demagogic oratory of the extremist political leaders who instigate violent revolutions. Martin Luther King disagreed with the rhetorical militancy of Malcolm X and held that it would not be useful for African Americans.

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