Frederick Douglas and Malcolm x

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Men of the Movements

Frederick Douglas and Malcolm X were two men who were very important to Americans, especially those of African descent. These men made important speeches and organized special movements that eventually led to the beneficial changes of the Civil Rights Movements. The powerful words helped unify the United States to its present state, and better the world for all people.

Frederick Douglass was a freed slave who passed from master to master until he finally found the satisfaction of being his own. Frederick Douglass, being intelligent and endowed with the gift to influence, he brought a sharp perspective on the blights of racism and slavery. He was also blessed with an eye that could bring different perspectives into focus and he had the ability to translate in the most articulate fashion between the worlds of the black man and white man. Along these lines Douglass' role is a major one, for relatively few first-hand accounts of slavery as powerful and representative as his exist, and in light of the magnitude of the crime, and few voices have been as far-reaching. A more recent successor of this is Malcolm X, who has carried the torch further.

Malcolm X was probably one of the most controversial aspects in the civil rights movement. Malcolm X had become a member of the Nation of Islam in his earlier years. Malcolm was a very influential priest for the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X questioned some of the views and beliefs of the Nation of Islam, which made Mr. Mohammed and the rest of the Nation angry. This forced Malcolm to travel on a journey overseas to find out what his true beliefs were. When he reached Arabia, he found that it was a different society than that of which Elijah Mohammed had described it. Malcolm discovered that race played no role in determining a person's status in society. Viewing this made a positive change in Malcolm X's beliefs and views. This unity of human kind made Malcolm think and change his ideas about the solution to the racial problem in America. This was the most influential turning point in his life.

Frederick Douglass has been described as "bicultural". In other words, he was somewhere in the middle, being shared by blacks and whites alike. With the duality of perspective came also one of language, a fact to which we owe his writings and abolitionist activism. Men such as Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass do not occupy the position of translator accidentally; they each earned the title of spokesman because it takes a certain kind of man to bridge the gap between the two worlds of black and white, or freeman and slave. A man in this position is called upon to balance his experiences of the two realities. He must embrace the new world he finds himself in and glean as much as he can from it; he also must continue to carry the weight of his past so that he can interpret it for others, who must learn from it. Malcolm however was not as calm.

X first adopted his views and beliefs of the Nation of Islam while he was serving time in prison. By the time he had gotten out of prison, he had undergone a transformation from a drug-dealing thief to a religious priest for his newfound faith, the Nation of Islam. Malcolm had taken on in full Mr. Mohammed's racist teachings. It was through these teachings that Malcolm X developed his radical views about race in America. Under the guidance of Elijah Mohammed, Malcolm had targeted all whites and blamed them for position of African Americans in society. He referred to the whites as devils, which tried making the standards of blacks even lower then they already were. X believed that complete segregation was the only way to end racial problems in America. He also said that all actions committed against blacks in history were due to the white race as a whole. Another one of his claims was that all blacks should move to Africa, and establish some sort of society there.

This is where the two differ. Douglass was not one to point...