While Martin Luther King’s non-violent protests helped him gain a strong political position, Malcolm X created strong social change. X was a direct opposite of King but the north’s main Civil Rights leader and particularly appealed to younger African Americans through an extreme, radical approach. Through his support of black nationalisation, reviving 1920s Garveyism, showing how people should fight for freedom rather than wait for it, Malcolm X revolutionised society, incomparably surpassing the effects of any legislation. This was mainly because of the violence and riots that X advocated, forcing people to view black communities vigorously and to a certain extent, with fear. Apart from a legislation outside of the timeframe in question, Malcolm X had few political victories, especially in comparison to King. However, he was a symbol of pride and change within the black community.
Those who had prior been united in support of peaceful boycotts, started to follow X’s style and many called for nationalism. On the other hand, It has to be understood that X was majorly northern centric, having little impact on the south where 20.6% of the population was African-Americans, whereas, in the north it was only 6.7% (1960s).
Furthermore, his radical and violent methods were heavily criticized because they allowed white supremacist groups, such as the Klu Klux Klan, to justify their actions of lynching by confirming that free African American people were ‘violent’, giving them evidence to prove their propaganda was true. He also weakened his position by causing the black and white communities to become even further separated, meaning gaining a link in politics would be impossible. A prime example of this was how the SCNN became an all-black organisation in 1966. Therefore, while X showed that non-violent protests were unstable and that King wasn’t the only leader to shape the Civil Rights Movement, it could be argued that Malcolm X was an impediment to the movement, which allowed for the loss of political authority and discord within the Civil Rights Movement itself. However, Malcolm X proved that there were many other leaders who significantly changed the development of the Civil Rights Movement, such as, W.E.B DuBois.