Malcolm X And The Civil Rights Movement Essay

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There are two distinct views concerning the involvement of Malcolm X in the American Civil Rights movement from 1959 to 1963. One states that X is an action-based “alternative to Dr. King.” The other stating that he was a setback for the Civil Rights movement due to his views on white people. Malcolm X was a member of the Nation of Islam (NOI), a black nationalist/separatist religious group, from 1948 to 1963. He based his platform on the beliefs and ideologies of the NOI. Elijah Muhammed, leader of the NOI during X’s active years, preached that he himself was a prophet of Allah. However, Muhammed’s teachings to the NOI differed greatly from those of orthodox Islam. Muhammed rejected many of the beliefs, such as a spiritual afterlife, and …show more content…
X was appointed the Nation of Islam’s national representative by Muhammed who said, “I want you to be well known, it will make me well known.” In 1959, a television documentary focusing on Black Nationalism in America was aired. The Hate That Hate Produced was hosted by Louis Lomax, the first black television journalist, who interviewed the leaders of the NOI. The documentary criticized the ‘turn the other cheek’ philosophy of Christianity as “perpetuating enslavement.” In his autobiography, Malcolm X described the reaction of the ‘white man’ to the documentary: “[the white man] loves himself so much that he is startled if he discovers that his victims don 't share his vainglorious self-opinion.” The documentary advocated separatism and armed self-defence against white aggression. By 1960, there were approximately 100,000 NOI members from the urban ghettos. The Nation of Islam was criticized by many notable figures, such as Thurgood Marshall, the first black judge of the Supreme Court and …show more content…
Additionally, the influence of Malcolm X, his exposure to ghetto problems, and the experiences of the SNCC and CORE in Mississippi were all credited with the movement’s progression. A point that is often overlooked is that ‘black power’ had many different meanings. For some it meant ‘black supremacy’, while for others it meant ‘economic power and political power’. Elijah Muhammed stated that “black power [meant that] black people [would] rule the white people on earth as the white people have ruled the black people for the past six thousand years.” The Nation of Islam and the Black Power movement both advocated for separatism, cultural revitalisation, and self-help. The followers of the Black Power movement were made up of a new generation of black radicals demanding improvements for their rights and economic capabilities. Malcolm X’s condoning of violence is what made him appealing to these radicals, who also opposed Martin Luther King’s “love thine enemy” approach. X motivated the new generation of leaders, like SNCC’s Stokely Carmichael. Generally, the Black Power movement is seen as a rejection to the techniques of the Civil Rights

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