Martin Luther King and Malcom X on Violence and Integration

Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were contemporaries. Both were gifted orators, both were preachers, both were leaders during the Civil Rights era, both were assassinated. But the two had very different views on violence and integration. Class members examine short biographies of the two men and analyze their statements on the role of whites in the civil rights struggle, on integration, and on violence. Individuals are then asked to consider how King's and X's philosophies reflect their life experiences.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Divide the class into two teams, further divide the teams into groups, and assign the groups different tasks like creating a timeline of significant events, analyzing key speeches, examining FBI involvement, and media portrayal; then have the teams develop a presentation of their findings
Classroom Considerations

  • Requires individual copies of the 5-page document
  • Establish a protocol for a sensitive, respectful discussion of controversial topics
  • The quotes from Malcolm X precede his April 1964 pilgrimage to Mecca; provide class members with statements made after that trip that reveal a change in his philosophies

  • The side-by-side format lets readers easily compare and contrast the positions of the two leaders

  • None