"Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Equality"

Abstract: With Jim Crow laws instituted and racial segregation dividing a nation, the Civil Rights Movement stood against racial prejudice and injustice.  From boycotting bus transportation systems to petitioning for legal reform in education, many approaches were taken in search for racial equality in America.  From the late 1950s to the early 1960s, three major leaders sought equality for minorities with three very distinct philosophies.  Dr. Martin Luther King, a young reverend from Atlanta, believed racial equality must be achieved through nonviolent measures.  On the contrary, Malcolm X and his organization, the Nation of Islam, believed that one could only seek change for equality “by any means necessary.”  The third and most controversial group, The Black Panther Party, relied heavily on militaristic methods in their opposition to racial injustice.  Despite their contrasting views, each group’s philosophical ideas collectively formed a movement that ultimately ended the legal prejudice, which plagued American life, sharing a common goal of equality for African Americans in the United States. An examination of these individuals, their philosophies, and their effects on American society reveals that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and the Black Panther Party and their methods successfully ended racial discrimination and achieved racial equality. - Jonel Seon