Historic Figure: Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. is an historic figure in the U.S. and the world at large. His contributions to the civil rights movement that characterized the U.S. in the 20th century elevated his image to a historic figure. Martin Luther King Jr. was known for his unique approach during the civil rights movement. This is because he advocated for the use of peaceful methods in fighting the oppression to the African-American citizens. This was contrary to the radical approach that had been adopted by other civil rights activists. Martin Luther King Jr. contributed a lot to the development of peaceful and non-violent demonstrations during the civil rights movement.
Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement
The civil right movement organized by Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for certain ideas and actions. The civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for the use of nonviolence means in championing for equality among the different races in the United States. Martin Luther King Jr. had a firsthand experience of racial and economic injustice in the American society from a tender age (Jackson, p. 26). Racial segregation was prevalent in the U.S. during the 20th century and especially in the Southern States. Nonetheless, Martin Luther King was quite lucky because he grew up in Atlanta where he attended school. This “privilege” was not enjoyed by many black children in the Southern States (Fandel, p. 5). Martin Luther King Jr. served as a clergy within a Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama at the time when he led a boycott of the city bus lines that were marred with segregation. This marked the beginning of the civil rights movement. He called for the adoption of the nonviolence strategy in protesting against the racial segregation that characterized the American society. Martin Luther King Jr. organized nonviolent marches, sit-ins, and demonstrations across the United States calling for a stop on the unequal treatment that was experienced by the blacks in a society that was dominated by whites (Fleming, p. 1).
Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for nonviolence at a time when violence was being meted to the African Americans. He did not see the need for the African Americans to retaliate violently in their quest for equal treatment. In his assertions, Martin Luther King Jr. observed that the victims of violence were Africans Americans, and it was very rare for whites to suffer the consequences of the violence caused by the blacks. Therefore, he noted that the best way for the Africans to get their freedom was through nonviolent means. Martin Luther King Jr. observed that there was a need for a racial revolution in the United States. However, this revolution was to be unique in that it aimed at helping the African Americans to be integrated into the social system, as opposed to overthrowing the oppressors. The most important thing, as advocated by Martin Luther, was equitable distribution of resources and opportunities among the racial groups in the United States. He advocated for the American society to provide individuals with equal opportunity regardless of their racial orientation. This social change was to be achieved through nonviolent strategies. In championing for nonviolence, Martin Luther King Jr. argued that such a strategy would pressure those who segregated the black people (Mayton, p. 183).
There were various nonviolent activities that Martin Luther King Jr. actively participated during the civil rights movement. These include:The 1955 Montgomery bus boycott that lasted to slightly more than one year. This led to a change in which the public buses heeded to the demand by those who participated in the boycott. In the year 1957, he assumed the leadership of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). This organization was formed to mobilize the churches in the fight against black oppression through nonviolent means. He also participated in other campaigns such as the 1963 Birmingham Campaign in which various rights were demanded. The campaigns included the right to vote and being respected at the work place among other things. Martin Luther king Jr. continued to participate in various courses that aimed at championing for the rights of the black people across the United States. However, he is best remembered for the 1963 Washington March. This was a peaceful demonstration that called for an end to racial segregation and enactment of various laws that would bring equality in employment. This march was a great success and culminated in the famous speech that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered to the crowd at Lincoln Memorial entitled, “I Have a Dream” (Sterling and Tunell, p. 35; Mayton, p.18).
Martin Luther King Jr. is a legend in the American history and the world at large. He hoped for a society in which individuals would be equally treated irrespective of the racial orientation. Although he was assassinated, his legacy remains unmatched by many people today. His actions led to numerous changes that benefited the black people.Laws were established to eliminate segregation that was rampant in the American society (Fleming, p. 1). In his famous speech, “I Have a Dream”, Martin Luther King Jr. called for the judgment of individuals to be based on their abilities, as opposed to race. Although there are still some racial disparities observed across the United States and the world at large, it can be noted that, Martin Luther King’s dream has been achieved to some extent. This can be seen in the election of Barrack Obama as the first American president with an African descent. Indeed, when the Americans elected Barrack Obama to occupy the highest office, they judged the president basing on his abilities, as opposed to racial attributes. Therefore, it can be observed that Martin Luther King Jr. remains a great figure in the American history.
Martin Luther King Jr. is renowned for developing the non-violence strategy of fighting against discriminations to African-American people. The contributions and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement era are insurmountable. He is best known for his nonviolent strategy in the fight against segregation and other forms of oppressions that were meted against the black people. He was assassinated before the fulfillment of what he was advocating for.His quest for equality among the diverse racial groups has been achieved. This has been experienced in the enactment of various laws that have brought equality among the different racial groups. The epitome of what Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for can be seen in the election of the first black US President, Barrack Obama.
Fandel, Jennifer. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Great Civil Rights Leader. Mankato, Minn.: Capstone Press, 2007. Print.
Fleming, Alice. Sterling Biographies: Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Dream of Hope. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2008. Print.
Jackson, Thomas F. From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Struggle for Economic Justice. Philadelphia, Pa: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2007. Print.
Mayton, Daniel M. Nonviolence and Peace Psychology: Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Societal, and World Peace. New York, NY: Springer, 2009. Print.
Sterling, Mary E, and K. Tunell. The Sixties: Challenging. Huntington Beach, Calif.: Teacher Created Materials, 1998. Print.
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