Comparison and Disagreement of the Ideas of Martin Luther King Jr., Elijah Muhammad, and Malcolm X

African Americans Fighting Against Societal Injustices

Even before the introduction of slavery, African Americans had to fight against societal injustices. This struggle was largely about freeing black people from the oppressive laws and social mores that denied them their humanity and their right to self-determination. The desire of the black man to fully participate in the affairs of his country as well as the call for independence, whereby black Americans would free themselves from the yoke imposed upon them by American society, are some of the tendencies that historians have since identified as being characteristic of these struggles. Thus, several leaders like Martin Luther Jnr., Richard Allen, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, and Elijah Muhammad among other charismatic human rights activists rallied their supporters behind them in what they termed a collective action against the oppressive forces. This paper examines the different ideologies that these leaders embraced as it singles out the three prominent personalities like Martin Luther Jnr., Malcolm X, and Muhammad who caught people’s attention during their time. It evaluates the similarities and differences in the way they called upon their fellow men to join in the fight, though it was clear that most of their arguments were based on their political and religious ideologies.

Malcolm X's Activism Against Social Injustices

Malcolm is remembered as an activist and a good orator who stood up against white supremacy and advocated for the rights of black Americans and other oppressed people around the world. As bold as he was, he condemned social injustices with so much enduring intensity that no other person could match. Contrary to other leaders who called for the separation of the blacks from the whites, he yearned for the day when the two groups would forget their differences and unite as one. As a similar thought to that of Luther and Muhammad, Malcolm embraced the philosophy of Black Nationalism and called upon other black activists to join in the fight for people’s civil rights. He too condemned racial segregation, hatred, and animosity.

Malcolm X's Economic and Social Goals

As a way of showing his disappointment to the elected leaders, he urged blacks to vote wisely so that their votes could bring change and allow them to participate in the process of building the economy through direct involvement. He stated, “The economic philosophy of black nationalism is pure and simple. It only means that we should control the economy of our community”. Furthermore, he called upon his fellow blacks to free themselves from the evil practices that rocked their society so that they could realize full emancipation. He called for a non-violent fight for the rights of the blacks, though he believed that the struggle would become a violent one if their enemies resorted to a violent confrontation. To achieve this, he advocated for the boycott of schools and other government services as a way of expressing anger towards the oppressive regime.

Elijah Muhammad's Role in the Nation of Islam

Similarly, Elijah Muhammad was one of the leaders of the Nation of Islam (NOI), which also participated in the Black Nationalist movements of those times. NOI stressed on ethical conduct, patriarchy, and respect to the authority, some of the teachings that Muhammad upheld. Just like Martin Luther and Malcolm, Muhammad advocated for human freedom, dignity, and justice. He demanded equal opportunities for all, independence of the blacks, the release of Muslim prisoners, end of police brutality, as well as equivalent education in schools that were different from those attended by whites. He also spread Muslim beliefs, which include belief in God and the Holy Koran, obedience to Allah’s prophets, justice for all, non-violence, respect and protection of women. Islamic faith also condemned intermarriage between different races and called for the separation of the black people from the whites. Therefore, he is different from Malcolm who never called for segregation between blacks and the whites but peaceful co-existence.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Advocacy for Civil Rights

Martin Luther King Jnr. was also a charismatic leader who advocated for people’s civil rights. As a similar ideology with his colleagues, he advocated for non-violent fight for people’s rights, which he believed could be achieved through Civil disobedience. He championed for democratic socialism, where members of his community would be granted full employment and political participation. He severely condemned segregation of blacks and urged his fellow Negroes to treat themselves with self-respect and embrace new perspectives that would help them attain their dignity as human beings. Just like Malcolm and Muhammad, he did not believe in violent confrontation. He asserted that, “violence solves no social problems; it merely creates new and more complicated ones.” Similar to his colleague Malcolm, Luther believed that the best alternative to war was a nonviolent resistance against oppression. He also adopted the tactic of noncooperation and boycott just as Malcolm did. Thus, he peacefully called for a nonviolence resistance and advocating for human freedom and dignity without resorting to a physical fight.

Common Ideologies and Non-Violent Resistance

Thus, all the leaders were moved by their religious thoughts as they advocated for the emancipation of the blacks. Through the Black Nationalist movement, they all advocated for social justice, freedom and the restoration of human dignity. They employed various tactics like noncooperation, civil disobedience, and boycott of various services and goods, though Muhammad was a bit inclined towards propagating the teachings of Islamic religion that called for people to respect authority and the laws of the land. However, all of them advocated for non-violent resistance because they feared the repercussions of war.

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