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Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X

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Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were Civil Rights icons who seeked[sought] equal rights for everyone during the 1960’s. Martin and Malcolm grew up in different environments, different educational backgrounds, and different religious beliefs and had different views as to why blacks weren’t afforded the same rights as other Americans. Even though they had all these differences, they became Civil Rights icons in the 1960’s with one objective and that was equal rights for everyone.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born Michael Luther King Jr., on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia but later changed his name to Martin. He grew up in a middle class family and attended segregated public schools. He was a very smart student who skipped two grades. Martin graduated from high school at the age of 15, and received a B.A. degree from Morehouse College in 1948, at age 19. For the next three years, he attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, where he was elected class president in a class that was predominately white. He later went on to attend Boston University where he completed his residence in 1953 and received his degree in 1955.

Martin became the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama in 1954. Also, during this time, he became a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as a stronger worker and voice for the movement. He was a peaceful leader who encouraged nonviolence to his followers. He urged blacks that in order to win their rightful place in society, they would have to have self respect, high moral standards and work hard. Martin led the first nonviolent demonstration bus boycott for blacks in December 1955. The boycott lasted 382 days and as result, the Supreme Court on December 21, 1956, declared the laws requiring segregation on buses was unconstitutional, which meant blacks and whites rode the bus as equals. In 1957, he became president of the Southern Christen Leadership Conference, an organization who took their ideals from Christianity and provided new leadership for the civil rights movement.

From 1957 to 1968 Martin Luther King Jr traveled over six millions miles, appeared and spoke [in] over 2,500 times, in places where there was injustice, protest and action. He also led massive protests in Birmingham, Alabama in which he was jailed and the march on Washington, DC where he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. He was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963 and became the youngest man to win the Nobel Peace Prize. With all these accomplishments and peaceful demonstrations, Martin Luther King Jr died a violent death when he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, while standing on the balcony of his motel room.

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother was a homemaker and his father was a Baptist minister. Malcolm’s father was also a supporter of Marcus Garvey, the Black Nationalist leader and because of his support, his father received death threats from the Black Legion, a white supremacist organization. Malcolm’s family moved numerous times in order to escape the Legion but it didn’t keep them safe. There house was burned to the ground in 1929 and two years later his father was found dead on the town’s trolley tracks.

Malcolm was also a bright student who excelled in school and graduated at the top of his class from junior high. His interest in school changed when one of his teachers told him that his dream of becoming a lawyer was “no realistic goal for a black person”. He dropped out of school and moved

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