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Malcolm X and Eleanor Roosevelt

Assessment Model Print

Strong Comparison-Contrast

This middle school comparison-contrast essay focuses on two American leaders who fought for change.

Title: Malcolm X and Eleanor Roosevelt

Level: Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Mode: Explanatory Writing

Form: Comparison-Contrast

Completed Rubric: Malcolm X and Eleanor Roosevelt

Blank Rubric: Explanatory Rubric

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Malcolm X and Eleanor Roosevelt

Student Model

Malcolm X and Eleanor Roosevelt

Malcolm X and Eleanor Roosevelt were two people with entirely different backgrounds. Malcolm X was a very controversial black civil rights leader and a convicted felon. Eleanor Roosevelt was the first lady, wife of one of our most loved presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and an avid women’s rights leader. Although on the surface it might seem that the two are very different, in reality they actually had much in common.

I believe part of the reason these two are viewed as so different is how they were raised. Malcolm X became a criminal early in his life, dealing drugs and going to jail. Eleanor Roosevelt started her life as a shy, smart little girl, totally lacking in self-confidence. Although Malcolm X may have been raised in a chaotic family, as an adult he was one of the most articulate speakers our world has ever known. The same can be said for Eleanor Roosevelt who overcame her shyness to become a great public speaker.

Both of these great leaders experienced early struggles and hardships. Malcolm X was convicted and sent to jail. He had a difficult time in jail because he could not properly write what he intended to say in his letters. Yet he learned to read and write more eloquently by copying an entire dictionary. Eleanor Roosevelt had low self-esteem because she always thought she was an ugly duckling. This lack of confidence prevented her from properly expressing herself. Eleanor got over her low self-esteem and went on to become one of the most powerful women in our history by fighting for women’s rights.

These historical figures also had great accomplishments in common. Eleanor helped to develop equal rights for women, who at that time faced significant discrimination. Malcolm X also fought for equal rights, only he fought for blacks during a time when racism was rampant in our society. Today both women and African Americans enjoy equal rights partially because of the work of these two people.

With all of the differences between the two, it is obvious now that Eleanor Roosevelt and Malcolm X had much in common. Although their religion, skin color, and even some of their views divided them, they both overcame adversity and achieved significant accomplishments. Perhaps one’s initial reluctance to see their similarities can be addressed by Dr. Martin Luther King’s words: “Judge not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Though outwardly they appeared different, inwardly, they were very much alike.


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