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Martin Luther King Vs. Malcolm X

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Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X grew up in two different environments. Martin Luther King Jr. was born and raised in a comfortable middle-class family who encouraged education and whose name in Atlanta was very well established. Malcolm X was raised in a completely different atmosphere than King-- an atmosphere of fear and anger where the sources of his bitterness and hate later lie. The burning of his house by the Klu Klux Klan resulted in the murder of his father and the nervous breakdown of his mother. This caused a huge split in his family. He was haunted by this experience for most of his life, and from then on he was driven by hatred and a desire for revenge. Malcolm X was a self-taught man who had little schooling and rose to greatness on his own intelligence and determination. The early backgrounds of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King were very much responsible for their different responses to American racism.

Malcolm X and Martin Luther King's childhoods had powerful influences on the men and their speeches. Malcolm X was brought up in an atmosphere of violence. During his childhood, Malcolm X suffered not only from abuse by whites, but also from domestic violence. His father beat his mother and both of them abused their children. His mother was forced to raise eight children during the depression, and after she had a mental breakdown the children were all placed in foster homes. Malcolm X's resentment was increased as he suffered through the ravages of integrated schooling. Even thought he was a very smart student who shared the dream of being a lawyer with Martin Luther King, Malcolm X's anger caused him to drop out of school. He even started to use cocaine and set up a burglary ring to support his expensive habit. Martin Luther King lived in an entirely different environment. King was raised in the perfect environment where dreams and love were generated. The strong faith his family showed helped him develop the morals he lived by later in his life. He was a smart student and skipped two grades before entering an Ivy League college at only the age of 15. He was the class valedictorian with an A average.

Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X's childhoods are almost completely opposite. Malcolm X's home and childhood was horrible, while King's home was almost dream-like. He was raised in a comfortable middle-class home where strong values helped develop his sense of self-worth. Martin Luther King appeared to many as calm and idealistic. Many say his calmness came from his peaceful, middle-class life. King urged blacks to win their rightful place in society by gaining self-respect, high moral standards,



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