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How The Civil Rights Movement Inspired The X-Men Comics

It gets more complicated when we get to the Magneto / Malcolm X comparisons, because from a rigid context of good vs. evil that comic books play into, that would mean that people are saying Malcolm X’s philosophy was more inherently bad or diametrically opposed to MLK’s, and that is not completely true. Yes, Malcolm X famously gave his “By Any Means Necessary” speech in 1964, calling for the complete “independence of people of African descent” in the U.S. He was opposed to assimilation, in terms of Black people denying their identities in order to co-exist with white Americans. This aspect of Malcolm X can be compared to Magneto, who felt mutants should be able to live freely as they are and not hide who they are. The X-Men character also threw away his “human” name for Magneto, similarly Malcolm X took his famous “X” last name to reject his slave roots.

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