Leader Question: Martin Luther King Malcolm X

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Comparing 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 Muslim 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.

  • Traveled the world to learn about other black cultures.

Death: Describe 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 an international conspiracy as he represented a threat to the Black Muslims after breaking with Elijah 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.

Sources: Unpublished notes. George Cassutto, 1995 Richard A. Long Black America Chartwell Books Inc., p.92, 1986 George Cassutto's Cyberlearning World: 

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