During Martin Luther King's time in the 1960's there was significant debate in the African American community concerning the best methods for civil rights. At the same time that the civil rights movement was gaining public and political traction, there were debates within the broader civil rigths community around appropriate methods.
Martin Luther King's method of non-violent civil disobedience was rooted in the political philosophy of Mahatma Ghandi and Henry David Thoreau. Ultimately, he was effective and captured the moral imagination of the American people.
At the same time, Malcom X was advancing very different ideas in terms of how the civil rights movement should be advanced and supported. Malcom X's story is compelling as well. He adopted the surname "X" as a repudiation of his slave name. He was an articulate and impassioned spokesman for the Nation of Islam. He inspired the "black power" movement. Clearly, he had some valid points as well.
The clip below, provides some juxtaposition of their positions. What this illustrates is that every movement has its variants. It is useful to consider this in light of the Idle No More movement which in many ways is also agitating for civil rights and honouring of commitments made to First Nation people. All those committed to social justice and civil rights are fellow travellers with Idle No More. The question, as it always is for any movement, is tactics and strategy. It is difficult to argue with the results of Martin Luther King's moral approach and style for civil rights. His was an inclusive vision rooted in love. Dr. King does and excellent job in defending the role of love in the civil rights movement.