This piece was originally posted at FRS Real Life Journal Plus
I have a lot of respect for both Dr. Martin L. King and Minster Malcolm X. But where they are different relates to what part of the civil rights movement that they represent.
Dr. King, was the most important leader in the 1960s civil rights struggle. Because without his non-violent approach those laws simply do not get passed. Because non-African-Americans wouldn’t take this movement seriously. And basically would’ve seen this movement that was of course multi-racial and multi-ethnic as thugs, criminals and terrorists. But because the Dr. King wing of the movement was non-violent, the so-called mainstream media took it seriously and gave it fair coverage. And as a result Americans took noticed of it and got involved especially young people, but public officials and celebrities in entertainment that had influence. As well so these marchers and activists were seen as peaceful, mainstream and responsible.
But where I give the edge to Malcolm X, was his movement was freedom from start to finish. And didn’t see the future of the African-American community as dependent on the New Deal, or Great Society. But was someone who was a big believer in education and opportunity. So people would have the freedom to take care of themselves and not have to live in poverty. And would’ve continued to push this approach of empowering African-Americans and perhaps others, to have the freedom to live their own lives. And not have to live off of public assistance in order to take care of themselves. Whereas Dr. King, was about redistribution of wealth. Taking money from the wealthy to take care of the poor. Which would’ve been the next stage of his movement had he lived. But what Malcolm X, was pushing for was empowering a whole community. To be able to take care of themselves and create their own wealth instead.
Dr. King and Minister Malcolm, are the two most important players in this movement. I think that is obvious but they represented different wings of this movement. And moving forward post civil rights of the 1960s would’ve pushed different economic agendas.