It is safe to say that Martin Luther King is the figurehead of the Civil Rights era in the United States. His non-violence campaign gave a brand new display of protest for people in the U.S; in contrast to most noticeably Malcolm X. Malcolm X was known as one of the greatest and most influential African American in history. He was known for his fights against racism, for being called a racist and black supremist, and for his calls for violence. However despite the negativity that comes to mind with Malcolm X, the question has still been pondered for years since his death. Would have there been an MLK without Malcolm X?
I’ll be the first to tell you that I have trouble finding an answer. I don’t feel proud of the amount of knowledge that I currently have about Malcolm X beliefs and teachings. However I do know what he thought about this question. In his biography he mentioned that he was necessary for people to then listen to MLK instead. He pushed forced people into recognizing the problems of the country through drastic measures. And with those drastic measures people then rejected and ostracized him and instead listen and considered what MLK was conveying. Since MLK was portrayed as a saint in comparison to Malcolm X it helped legitimize him to not only whites but all races. It’s as if Malcolm X was a sacrifice in the public image for MLK to rise up and bring the prosperity for blacks that they both aimed for.
Some theorists also believe that these two leaders and their differences made up the necessary combination to change America. Having the clean cut leader who’s morality and sense of justice was at the highest level in MLK, while having the radical and violent leader who represented Islam and proclaimed that white people were the devil, and anti-Semitic, and attacked the problems of racism viscously gave the right mixture to which change became essential to the country’s future.
The reason i feel that this topic is relevant to our class is because of our recent arguments regarding violence and if it can be justified. From a utalitiarian standpoint I feel that it has been shown to result in the overall common good for everyone that this violence occured to promote change. But some people feel violence is never the answer. I feel that this example shows why hat can naive in some ways.
Again with the little knowledge I know I tend to lean towards feeling that MLK wouldn’t have work without Malcolm X. I feel that without Malcolm X, people would have taken MLK approach more as a weakness rather than the intelligent method that it is. So what do you guys think?