BACKGROUND: Born: January 15, 1929 Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Died: April 4, 1968 (Aged 39), Memphis, Tennessee, United States. Being close friends with the second big G, Ghandi, as well as relationships with the Quaker group, this influenced his non-violent movements. To remain an objective outlook, and be conscious of all political parties, he did not endorse a US political party or candidate.
IDEOLOGY He argued that black Americans, as well as other disadvantaged Americans, should be compensated for historical wrongs – via payment of $50 billion. He believed that his actions were within the teachings of Christianity. “I just want to do God‟s will”.
BUS INCIDENT In March 1955, a fifteen-year-old school girl in Montgomery, Claudette Colvin, refused to give up her bus seat to a white man. King was on the committee from the Birmingham African-American community that looked into the case; because Colvin was pregnant and unmarried, E.D. Nixon and Clifford Durr decided to wait for a better case to pursue. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, urged and planned by Nixon and led by King, soon followed. The boycott lasted for 385 days, and the situation became so tense that Kings house was bombed. King was arrested during this campaign, which ended with a United States District Court ruling in Browder v. Gayle that ended racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses.
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY At the White House on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honour King. It began on the 20th January, 1986 and is an annual holiday on the third Monday of January. On January 17th, 2000, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was officially recognised in all fifty U.S. States.
EARLIER LIFE Malcolm X or „Malcolm Little‟ was born May 19th 1925 in Omaha Nebraska. When Malcolm was 6 his father, a Baptist minister was killed by a streetcar although many, including Malcolm, believe that his death involved the Ku Klux Klan. Malcolm did not excel in Junior school. He dropped out after a white teacher told him that his academic goal was “unrealistic” for a black person. Malcolm X was poorly treated by white people in early years, potentially driving his later ideas of black supremacy.
RELIGION On April 13th 1964 Malcolm left the US on a personal journey through the Middle-East and West Africa. He accomplished a pilgrimage to Mecca and converted from Christianity to Muslim. He said that seeing Muslims of “All colours, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans", interacting as equals led him to see Islam as a means by which racial problems could be overcome.
CONNECTION WITH THE BLACKPANTHERS The black panthers used Malcolm X‟s philosophy as an inspiration for gaining freedom. The founders of the Black panthers, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, were both strong supporters of Malcolm and agreed with his views on racial inequality and black supremacy. Bobby Seale later wrote that Malcolm X was “A better speaker than even Martin Luther King”
DEATH Malcolm was assassinated by 3 of his Islamic „followers‟ on February 21st 1965. He had 21 gunshot wounds, and was shot just before giving a lecture at Organization of Afro-American Unity in Manhattans Audubon Ballroom.
DIFFERENCES Dr. King was a pacifist influenced by Gandhi, he wished for racial-equality. This opposed Malcolm X‟s approach to achieving black supremacy through violent methods. It is a common misconception that Dr. King fought solely for equal rights, however this is only partly true as he also fought for compensation for African-Americans and other disadvantaged Americans in the form $50 billion. Malcolm X was a Muslim, Dr. King was a Christian, although Malcolm was at one time Christian.