Martin Luther King vs Malcolm X: Difference and Comparison

Racism has always been a bitter reality in society across the nations. The various human race faces discrimination in their life due to some factors. The most common one is race, the colour of skin.

The darker shade of skin or the so-called Black people has majorly suffered a lot of racism, which has sometimes been extremely harsh on them.

But the world has been fortunate enough to relish the existence of two such great personalities who took a firm stand against racism. Their names were Dr Martin Luther King Jr and Mr Malcolm X.

Key Takeaways

  1. Martin Luther King was a nonviolent civil rights activist who believed in peaceful protests. In contrast, Malcolm X was an activist who believed in using any means necessary to achieve equality for African Americans.
  2. King believed in integration, whereas Malcolm X believed in segregation and self-defense.
  3. King’s activism was based on Christian principles, whereas Malcolm X’s activism was influenced by his Islamic faith.

Martin Luther King vs Malcolm X

Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister and a leader of the civil rights movement. He advocated for nonviolent protest and civil disobedience as a means of achieving change. Malcolm X was a Muslim minister and a prominent figure in the Nation of Islam, a black nationalist and separatist organisation. He initially advocated for black separatism.

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Martin Luther King Junior was a popular face amongst the Americans who fought for equal rights for the blacks. He was a Catholic Baptist Pastor and an American minister.

He stood against the evils and injustice done towards the black race. He made a revolution and demanded equality for the black people who had to suffer the white supremacy.

He chooses the path of non-violence, believing that they will not show any tolerance against violence. He became the face of the civil rights movement.

Malcolm X was a Muslim African-American Minister who had fought for the rights of blacks. He started a revolution against the white supremacists trying to humiliate the blacks in that period.

He was ready to fight the oppressors by any means. He was ready to use violence as a tool to fulfil his ambitions. He had lost his father at an early young age and went through a lot of trouble in his younger days.

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He was not at all ready to work with the whites to fulfil his ambitions.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMartin Luther King JrMalcolm X
Birth15th Jan 1929 in Georgia USA 19th May 1925 in Nebraska USA
Position Held American Minister African-American Minister
Thoughts on Violence Showed no tolerance towards violence. Was ready to use violence as a medium to achieve his ambitions.
Treatment towards WhitesTreatment towards Whites Was ready to work hand in hand with white leaders to fight for human rights. He showed no interest in white leaders and treated white people as his enemies.
Religious beliefs A catholic Baptist Christian Used to believe in Islam.

Who is Martin Luther King Jr?

Martin Luther King was a prominent leader in America in the mid 20th century. He was an American minister and a Catholic Baptist Christian.

He was a popular leader of the civil rights movement and fought for human rights in the USA. And his main aim of him was to attain equality for all people regardless of their race and colour.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr took birth on the 15th of January 1929, in the city of Georgia, USA. . He started the movement against racism and white supremacy till his last breath on 4th April 1968, when he got killed.

He believed in conducting peaceful protests. And to counter violence with non-violence. He shook hands with the white leaders and politicians to achieve his ambitions.

Martin was the chief spokesperson and an integral part of the civil rights movement, which he ran without any violent activities. He contributed a lot towards society in bringing social equality and human rights during his era.

He was a big follower of Gandhian ideologies and has also been awarded the Nobel Prize in 1964.

martin luther king jr

Who is Malcolm X?

Malcolm X was a Muslim leader and an African-American minister from the USA. Malcolm X was born in a middle-class family on 19th May 1925 in Nebraska, a city in the USA.

He belonged to a middle-class family and lost his father at a very young age after being shot by the white supremacist.

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He further became a great leader and a significant face who fought for civil rights and the injustice which used to take place against the black people at that time.

Malcolm X believed that violence should be dealt with violence to achieve his ambition. Quite a few times, the protest organized by Malcolm X turned out to be violent. He used to treat the white people as their enemies. Also, he was a member of UNIA.

He was also unfortunately assassinated by the white leaders at the age of 39 on 21 February 1965. He also spread Islam amongst the black community. He bought in major impact in the society to gain equal rights for the blacks as compared with the whites.


Main Differences Between Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X

  1. Martin Luther King Jr believed in Christianity. And Like his father, he was a catholic baptist. Malcolm X was a Muslim and a member of the Nation of Islam.
  2. Martin worked with the white leaders to achieve his Ambition. Malcolm X used to treat white people as his enemies and did not take any support from the white politicians.
  3. Martin Luther King focused mainly on the southern region. Whereas Malcolm targeted the north as well as south of the USA to attain equality for the black people.
  4. Martin Luther King was in core support of Gandhian non-violence. The protests held under his leadership were non-violent and peaceful. Malcolm X used violence as a medium of protest. He countered Violence with violence.
  5. Martin was a PhD in Theology. On the other, Malcolm X couldn’t pursue his high school degree.
Difference Between Martin Luther King and Malcolm X

Last Updated : 16 July, 2023

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