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explore the careers and ideas of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X

Order Instructions
The narrative (Introduction) and the primary-source documents we read in the Howard-Pitney book explore the careers and ideas of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Based upon the book, what differences between King and Malcolm X seem most significant –- in both their personal backgrounds AND their approaches to advancing the civil rights cause? What – if any – common ideas did the two leaders share by the mid-1960s, and why had their ideas changed?

You MUST choose 5 + documents from the book as your main evidence. This means the primary-source documents in Part Two. It is encouraged to use and cite the Introduction for background information, but this does not count as a source/document. See the additional guidelines below!


Your paper should address the main questions above. In addressing the prompt, focus on specific ideas / themes as suggested by the documents you have selected. Be sure to put your introduction – as well as all examples – in proper historical context. Organize your paper as you see fit: you may discuss one document in each paragraph, or organize the essay in some other way, such as strict chronological order.

At least 2 of your 5 + documents must be authored by King OR Malcolm X. (That is, you cannot use just one document by King plus 4 by Malcolm X, or the reverse.)

No “works cited” page / bibliography is required. To cite, use the parenthetical citation format described here (essentially MLA format).

Please cite ALL specific information / examples that you use in your essay, not just direct quotations. When in doubt, cite!

How to cite the documents (author + page[s]): (Please cite with the page numbers seen in the document PDF’s.)


For the book’s introduction, and the introductions to each section of documents: (Howard-Pitney, 24), (Howard-Pitney, 73).

For the documents in the book, indicate the document’s author + page(s) used:
e.g., if you use Malcolm X’s From Nightmare to Salvation (1965), cite: (Malcolm X, 47-49).

Another example: for King’s The Ethical Demands for Integration (1963): (King, 58-59).

No outside research; no online sources! Avoid plagiarism! Only class materials (those listed below under “Sources”) are permitted. Also, absolutely no use of AI software: students must do their own original writing. AI-generated prose that is NOT your own work is a form of cheating,

Use 12-point Times New Roman or Times font, double-spaced, and 1-inch margins.

any problems message me

The 15 documents you are permitted to use
Introduction (pp. 1-27)

+ ¨The following documents from Part Two, Section 1, “Formative Influences and Ideas”:

KING, An Autobiography of Religious Development (1950)
Malcolm X, From Nightmare to Salvation (1965)
¨The following documents from Section 2, “Social Ends: Racial Integration vs. Separation”

KING, The Ethical Demands for Integration (1963)
Malcolm X, From The Black Revolution (1963)

¨In Section 3, “Means of Struggle:

KING, Letter from Birmingham Jail (1963)
Malcolm X, From The Afro-American’s Right to Self-Defense (1964)
Malcolm X, From On Revolution (1963)
¨In Section 4, “On America: Dream or Nightmare?”:

KING, I Have a Dream (1963)
Malcolm X, The White Man is a Devil: Statements on Whites (1965)

¨In Section 5, “Critiques of Rival Racial Programs and Philosophies”:

KING, The Nightmare of Violence: Regarding the Death of Malcolm X (1965)
Malcolm X, Black Bodies with White Heads! (1965)
Malcolm X, From Message to the Grassroots (1963)

¨In Section 6, “Eras of Convergence”:

KING, From Where Do We Go From Here? (1967)
Malcolm X, From The Ballot or the Bullet (1964)
Malcolm X, My Voice Helped Save America (1965)

choose 6 to cite


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