Malcolm X vs King


Two great men at the same time lead their people but, in different ways. One strives to bring peace and the other willing to use force to prove his point. How can peace exist when violence lives? As King said "I have a dream" of peace and love but, which one of them possessed it? In the chart below is a comparison of the two greatest leaders of the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.



Martin Luther King

Malcolm X

Religion: Describe the religious outlook of King and Malcolm X

Southern Christian. He was a   Baptist minister. Influenced by the teachings of Mohammed. Became a musilm after spending time in jail.
Approach to Civil Rights/ Equality for Blacks: Describe the methods each leader used to instruct his followers when fighting for equal rights?
  • Non-violent protesting.
  • Speaking out for non-violence
  • Passive resistance
  • Use what he called  "Weapons of love:"
  • Suspicious of whites; willing to use "any means necessary" to achieve equality.
  • Was a segregationist until his pilgrimage to Mecca.
Key Events: List a number of the events of the life of each person that were instrumental in making a person a leader.
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955)
  • March in Washington (1963)
  • Won the Nobel Peace prize in 1964.
  • Joined Black Muslims under Elijah Mohammed.
  • Travelled the world to learn about other black cultures.
Death: Desribe the circumstances of the deaths of King and Malcolm X
  • April 4th, 1968
  • Death caused violent riots by blacks across the nation.
  • "I have been to the Mountain Top speech" predicted his death one day before.


  • Assassinated by members of the Black Muslim movement.
  • Many scholars believe in a international conspiracy as he represented a threat to the Black muslims after breaking with Elija Mohammed.
Early Life : What events in the youth and early adulthood of two men determined their destiny?
  • Decided to go into the ministry. Attended Morehouse College (GA)
  • Montgomery Bus boycott put him as leader of the movement.
Imprisoned for drug use and distribution. Led to a conversion to spirituality.
Effects: Describe the effects  each leader had on the Civil
Rights Movement and the
perception of blacks in
  • Perception has changed towards
    larger freedom.
  • His death led to passage of civil rights legislation (1968)
  • Gave people strength and courage.
Encouraged protest and instilled black pride.

Erin R.
Chester S.
Ruth P.
Sherry S.

Sources: Unpublished notes. George Cassutto, 1995

Richard A. Long Black America Chartwell Books Inc., p.92, 1986

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