Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Comparison Essay

Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A comparison paper on the ideologies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X.
# 119526 | 1,583 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2008 | US

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This paper draws on the writings and speeches of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in order to compare and contrast their differing ideologies and approaches to social issues during the later 20th century. The paper discusses the childhoods of both men and their most important influences, along with a description of their audience. The author also explains both men's ideologies and strategies in achieving equal rights in the United States in the 1950s-1970s.

From the Paper:

"Dr. King and Malcolm X strived to achieve equality for blacks under the law, more specifically, voting rights, desegregation, and more representation in government and politics. However, both men differed immensely in their tactics and strategies. For Dr. King, the negotiations could be brought about by the persistence of a nonviolent plan where, the oppressed people's determination would overcome the will of the oppressor in the hearts and minds of the nation. He firmly believed in the principles of Mahatma Gandhi's method of nonviolence resistance, which had been successful in driving the British out of India. For example, according to King, one of the resisters, or black mans goals is not to humiliate the opponent, (the white man) but to win his friendship and understanding. Dr. King proposed a passive resistance, based on "the conviction that the universe is on the side of justice" ("Pilgrimage to Non Violence" King, 112). He claimed the center of nonviolence is based on the principle of love, or understanding. Dr. King emphasized that the white man should not be held responsible for the minorities and blacks being oppressed. Here is where the two leaders oppose each other. Malcolm X felt social injustice and racism had endured too long, and it was time for a new approach. He said, "I don't mean go out and get violent; but at the same time you should never be nonviolent unless you run into some nonviolence." (Malcolm X, 34) Malcolm X did not necessarily want to seek out violence, but under the existing circumstances, he felt that blacks were justified to retaliate violently. Not only did Malcolm X blame the white man for oppressing blacks, but also he blamed the American government and both political parties. Malcolm X felt he had the right to take, not ask, for the rights that blacks naturally deserved."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • King, Martin Luther. A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.. 1986. Reprint. SanFrancisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1990. Print.
  • X, Malcolm. "The Ballot or the Bullet." Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements. New York: Grove Press, 1965. 23-40. Print.

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (2010, May 06) Retrieved February 22, 2024, from

MLA Format

"Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." 06 May 2010. Web. 22 February. 2024. <>