These are assuredly two of the most influential figures in America, not just Black America. No two people have done more to liberate Black people in the 20th century than Malcolm and Martin. Their speeches, words and wisdom have been the foundation from which every single Black leader in America in the last 50 years, have been inspired by.
But interestingly, I have noticed that the younger generation(under 45) definitely seem to have preferences and lean toward Malcolm X. Biography link : Biography of Malcolm X
Here is an audio link of one of Malcolm's greatest speeches: http://radio.indymedia.org/uploads/echoesmalcolmx.mp3
I'm one of them that is more drawn to Malcolm because in my opinion, Malcolm's life embodied the Black Experience in America and the authority from which he spoke came from him being able to identify with the pain that Black people were experiencing day in and day out in this country. He knew what he was talking about and people could feel that when he spoke. His life though was in constant evolution, like us--transforming before our eyes.
No matter what you think of him, still today, Malcolm X holds the attention and ears of the young.
Those over 45 definitely seem to favor Martin Luther King.
However, Martin came from the Black Elite. He did not suffer as Malcolm did growing up. His family, beginning with his grandfather, began a long tenure as pastors at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Martin Luther acted as co-pastor. Martin Luther attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduating from high school at the age of fifteen; he received the B. A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, a distinguished Negro institution of Atlanta from which both his father and grandfather had graduated. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of a predominantly white senior class, he was awarded the B.D. in 1951. With a fellowship won at Crozer, he enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, completing his residence for the doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955. In Boston he met and married Coretta Scott, a young woman of uncommon intellectual and artistic attainments. Two sons and two daughters were born into the family.
In 1954, Martin Luther King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, King was, by this time, a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation.
In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement. The ideals for this organization he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile he wrote five books as well as numerous articles. In these years, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience. and inspiring his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", a manifesto of the Negro revolution; he planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters; he directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his address, "l Have a Dream", he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson; he was arrested upwards of twenty times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.
At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.
Basically, Martin had a charmed upbringing and was raised Middle Class.
I've always felt that Malcolm X deserved a Nobel Peace Prize, but hence, when you're telling the truth to people's faces, it is not peaceful--it is an act of necessary violence.
Thus, I ask, which leader do you prefer and why? Or, do you embrace both leaders and their respective philosophies.