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The civil rights movement was a movement in the United States in the 1950s to the 1960s and mainly led by Blacks in an effort to establish gender and racial equality for all the African Americans. The aim of this civil right movement was to eliminate racial discrimination, restore economic and political self-sufficiency and to gain freedom from oppression from the white Americans (Newman, 2004). The movement had several leaders but the two notable figures were Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Movement
Born in 1929, Dr. King was fortunate to have had a teacher as a mother who taught her to read before starting school. Martin Luther became one of the extraordinary civil right movement leaders who advocated for racial integration between the white and African Americans to free the blacks from the oppression that they faced from the white Americans. King advocated for civil disobedience, the nonviolent resistance against unjust laws, and he believed that nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it (Brunner, 2011; Riches, 2004). King preached nonviolence that entailed peaceful dissents, mass demos, strikes, economic go-slows, marches and voter registration causes to express their frustrations with the laws that they regarded as unjust-as opposed to violence-to gain their rights.
King's movements were intended to force the improvement of policies and laws that were unjust. These peaceful protests and demonstrations were however met with violence, apprehensions, detainments, and even drubbings to death from the racists with a claim that it would lead to anarchy. The peaceful boycotts of Montgomery buses by African Americans were sustained for more than a year and eventually bore fruits when the supreme courts declared racial segregation in the buses and separate educational facilities illegal and unequal. These peaceful protests eventually brought about equality for all.
The Malcolm X. Civil Rights Movement
Malcolm X was born May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His adult life and take on civil movement was as a result of the influence of his father's lessons concerning the pride of blacks and self-reliance in his pursuit for equal rights for both blacks and whites. After learning about discrimination against blacks in schools and social places Malcolm became civil movement leader after joining the Nation of Islam. Malcolm advocated for black supremacy, an ideology that promotes a system of domination by the blacks. This was a response technique by the blacks towards the white supremacy. Unlike the Martin Luther ideology for peaceful protests, Malcolm recommended the black people to fight for their rights by any means possible, even if it meant violence for self-defense (Riches, 2004).
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Malcolm X also recommended the separation of the blacks from the white Americans. This was to encourage further segregation by separation of institutions and homeland for individuals of African descent in societies that were historically ruled by the whites. Malcolm X's Civil Rights Movement was meant to rescue the blacks, since Malcolm X believed blacks could not advance in a society under enemy control by the whites.
The peaceful approach advocated by Martin Luther King Jr. as Civil right movement leader was successful and led to the racial integration, peaceful coexistence of the whites and the blacks as opposed to the violent approach by Malcolm X. This is because nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon for the oppressed that cuts without physically wounding the oppressor but convicting the heart. Violence did not succeed because this was the method of the racists who propagated it and could not be beaten in their own game.
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