Malcolm X’s and Martin Luther King’s Similarities

Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X are among the notable civil rights activists that lived in the United States of America. Despite the fact that they came into being at different times and had different lives, these two figures had some similarities and differences between them. Martin Luther’s father served as a Baptist minister in the famous Ebenezer Church (Vail 55). Luther grew in the church, and it acted as among the strong influences that led him in the direction of civil rights activism. Concerning his marriage, Luther married an educated woman, Coretta Scott King (Johnson 12). At the time, not many black men could marry educated women.

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However, for Luther, he had the chance. While growing up, King had the pressure of taking education seriously because he hailed from a middle-class family that knew the importance of education. As a result, he graduated from college as a Ph.D. holder, but his interests led him in the direction of fighting for the rights of the people (Johnson 18). Luther had many accolades and achievements during his life. For example, he was behind the Montgomery boycott after a black man suffered in the hands of the police for failing to give a seat to a white passenger (Vail 60). For the public, they had great faith in his actions because he had massive support from the blacks and a section of the white people.

On the other hand, Malcolm X had his life with several similarities and differences with Luther King. Malcolm’s father, Earl Little had his life as a Baptist minister, the same as Luther’s dad (Novak 23). He grew in a stable family but had no chances of schooling due to a lack of financial support. As a result, he taught himself many things, and in the end, and he turned out as an extremely intelligent person that influenced millions of people. His wife, Betty Shabazz was a graduate nurse in New York (Novak 24). Here, we can see that both Malcolm X and Luther married educated women. He, too, like Luther had achieved in his life. For example, he had a great influence on the Muslim religion and pointed out at the deeds that painted it in a bad way. In addition, he raised the self-esteem of black people by making them appreciate their color. In many of his speeches, he had the idea that blacks were equal to whites, and that they should respect and understand their origin and nature.

However, there were other similarities between the two historical figures. Both of them died through assassination and at the age of 39. However, according to many people, they had their differences. For example, Malcolm X did not see much of formal schooling. On the other hand, Luther graduated with a Ph.D. after years of formal education. In their life, they only met once and did not talk much to each other. As a result, they felt that each was doing good work but did not like the idea of sharing their thoughts with one another.

Works Cited

Johnson, Davi. “Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 Birmingham campaign as image event.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 10.1 (2007): 1-25.

Novak, David R. “Engaging parrhesia in a democracy: Malcolm X as a truth-teller.” Southern Communication Journal 71.1 (2006): 25-43.

Vail, Mark. “The” Integrative” Rhetoric of Martin Luther King Jr.’s” I Have a Dream” Speech.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 9.1 (2006): 51-78.

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StudyCorgi. "Malcolm X's and Martin Luther King's Similarities." November 9, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. "Malcolm X's and Martin Luther King's Similarities." November 9, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Malcolm X's and Martin Luther King's Similarities'. 9 November.

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