Steve Biko vs. Malcolm X

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Malcolm X and Steve Biko Black Consciousness

Malcolm X and Steve Biko were one of the two most preeminent leaders in world history. These men changed lives and stood up for millions of Africans and African Americans during their short lives. These two men lived by a saying “black is beautiful”. They also believed that black people in the United States as well as Africans mainly in South Africa deserved the same rights and equality as any other man in the world. They lived through the rough era of the discrimination in the United States and Apartheid in South Africa. Malcolm X and Steve Biko’s lives were ended shortly due to assassinations by people who hated them. Who was Steve Biko? Steve Biko was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960’s and 70’s. Steve Biko was born in Kingwilliamstown, South Africa in 1946. Biko was a very educated man, even though he had issues in the schools growing up. He later studied to become a doctor at the University of Natal Medical School in South Africa. Steve Biko was the creator of the famous phrase “black is beautiful”. This amazing phrase he created was meant to generate pride in oneself and pride within the race. Specifically being the African race. In 1968 Biko formed an organization called SASO, which stands for South African Students’ Organization. He formed this group because he felt that black, Indian and colored students needed an organization of their own. He was then elected first president in July of 1969. Later in 1970 he was selected as the Publicity Secretary. This group SASO was later involved into the Black Consciousness Movement. Black Consciousness to Steve Biko is defined as “the realization by the black man of the need to rally together with his brothers around the cause of their operation” (Biko, 49”), he also said “It seeks to infuse the black community with a new found pride in themselves, their efforts, their value systems, their culture, their religion and their outlook to life” (Biko, 49). In an interview Steve Biko did he said “I basically think Black Consciousness refers itself to the black man and to his situation, and I think the black man is subjected to two forces in this country.” (Biko, 100). The Black Consciousness movement that Biko and other like-minded activists created the growth of Black Power in the United States. The Black Consciousness movement's system was founded in black Christianity. This was a way to support non-violence action from his great influence from Mahatma Gandhi. In another interview when Steve Biko was asked about Black Liberation he replied, “Liberation therefore is of paramount importance in the concept of Black Consciousness, for we cannot be conscious of ourselves and yet remain in bondage. We want to attain the envisioned self which is a free self”. Steve Biko basically means that if you understand the Black Consciousness movement, you would realize that Black Liberation would not come from only imagining and fighting for political changes as the ANC (also known as the African National Congress) did. But, it would also come from a psychological transformation in the minds of black people themselves.

Who was Malcolm X? Malcolm X was born by the name of Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother, Louise Norton Little was a homemaker that had to raise her eight children. His father, Earl Little, was a Baptist minister and passionate supporter of the Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Malcolm’s fathers’ civil rights involvement stimulated death threats from the white supremacist organization Black Legion, forcing the family to relocate twice before Malcolm's fourth birthday. Growing up, Malcolm had much to deal with. He had to get over the death of his father, his mother being sent to a mental home, being separated from his family and siblings, and most of all he had to brush off the racism that was being thrown at him from early ages. Malcolm was also a very smart student. He...