Martin Luther King Jr Essay
In 1998, an Atlanta Federal District Court judge ruled that Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was part of national history and that CBS did not need to seek permission to air it in an historical documentary that included a segment on the civil rights movement. The documentary, broadcast in 1994, incorporated a nine-minute excerpt of King’s historic speech. The King Corporation lawyers in the case argued that CBS had unlawfully used King’s “eloquent, creative, literary expressions.
Arguing the decision before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the King family succeeded in having it overturned two years later. Although the decision was the first to legally cement the King family’s rights, this was not the first time the copyright had become an issue, nor would it be the last. Presciently, King had copyrighted the speech a month after it was delivered and his heirs clung tenaciously to the idea that it was a bequest to them (Stout 16). Clarence Jones, King’s lawyer and confidant, filed suit against Twentieth Century Fox Records and Mr. Maestro Records for issuing bootleg copies of the speech (Branch 886).
However, King granted Motown Records permission to release two recordings of his speeches (“Great March to Freedom” and “Great March to Washington”), but told Motown founder Berry Gordy that he wanted the entire proceeds to be donated to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). When Gordy urged King to keep half of the royalties for himself and his family, King insisted it go to the SCLC so as not to give the impression that he was benefitting from the cause of civil rights (Posner 175–76).
King’s family, like Gordy, has seen the speech as an important source of revenue, some of which undoubtedly has been used to promote King’s legacy. Since winning their appeal against CBS, the King family has continued to exploit the copyright of the speech, agreeing to sell the French telephone company Alcatel the right to use a digitally altered version of the event for a 2001 television commercial. The commercial 184 Martin Luther King Jr. ‘s “I Have a Dream” Speech 185 shows King speaking jarringly absent the 250,000 people who had on that day lined the reflecting pool on the national mall.
The commercial asks what would have happened if King’s words had not been able to “connect” with his audience (Szegedy-Maszak 20). Selling a permission to use the speech for a television commercial and engaging in legal wrangling about the news media’s right to rebroadcast the speech are not developments that could be predicted from the iconic status the speech has achieved in national history. Although the legal dimensions of the speech’s dissemination are of interest, we are primarily interested in how King’s speech has become a permanent fixture in the collective memory of American citizens despite the copyright controversy.
In a recent book on the speech, Drew Hansen suggests that it is “the oratorical equivalent of the Declaration of Independence” (The Dream 214). What Edwin Black said of the Gettysburg Address is equally true of “I Have a Dream”: “The speech is fixed now in the history of a people” (Black 21). Far more than an ordinary written or performed text, King’s speech is now viewed as a text belonging to the nation, despite its current legal status. Coretta Scott King suggested that when King delivered the speech he was “connected to a higher power” (King).
Whether or not divinely inspired, the speech has come to symbolize the civil rights movement and anchors collective public memory of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Equality and of King himself. Although King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is now recognized as one of the most important speeches of the twentieth century, this has not always been the case. Reactions to the speech immediately following its delivery were mixed. Some praised the speech, while inexplicably others completely ignored it.
How did King’s speech achieve its iconic status given the mixed reaction immediately following its presentation? Thinking of the speech as generative of its own fame supports the legendary aura that now surrounds it, but its elevated stature resulted from a gradual process of media dissemination and cultural amplification. The touchstones in this process included eventual comparisons of King’s rhetoric to Lincoln’s, media portrayals of King’s role in the civil rights movement following his assassination, and the appropriation of the speech as a synecdoche for that movement.
The memory of Lincoln’s speech was fixed by print, while King’s speech was fixed by the electronic media. In 1863, no one realized that Abraham Lincoln’s humble “Remarks by the President” at the Gettysburg ceremony would have become part of national iconography. Years later, Carl Sandburg referred to it reverentially as the “great American poem,” but part of the apocryphal lore of the speech is that Lincoln truly believed the world would not “note nor long remember” what he and others said at Gettysburg.
Senator Edward Everett, one 186 ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes, and Reviews of the great ceremonial orators of his day, had satisfied every expectation of his audience with an address that took him two hours to deliver. It had taken Lincoln only three minutes to utter his 272 words (Wills 68). Lincoln’s speech gradually reached a secondary audience through the accounts of newspapers; King’s speech was instantaneously heard and seen by radio listeners and television viewers numbering in the millions.
For all its compelling metaphor and soaring imagery, “I Have a Dream” is more drama than poetry; as drama, it must be heard and seen. King’s rhetorical genius was oral, Lincoln’s written. Lincoln spoke transcendentally, while King spoke in the moment. Journalist Richard Carter, an eyewitness of the speech, reminds us that never before had a civil rights demonstration been aired live on national television (38). It was also the last such mass meeting to be broadcast (Branch 876).
Of the ten civil rights leaders who spoke at the rally, King did most to ignite the crowd, but the impact on television audiences derived from the interplay of King, his speech, the response of the crowd, and even the frequent cutaways to Lincoln’s statue. Carter finds it “inexplicable” that television critic Kay Gardella of the New York Daily News, who acknowledged that the speech was the most moving of the rally, subordinated the impress of King’s words to the visual images that the television camera associated with them: “Most effective and meaningful,” she aid, “were the cutaways to Lincoln’s statue” (38).
To those in the television medium who recorded the speech, and probably to those who watched it, the stone statue of the Great Emancipator amplified the combined effect of King’s lyrical words, mellifluous voice, and determined countenance. The symbolic interplay between King and Lincoln was also not lost on E. W. Kenworthy, who filed the front page story for the Times: “It was Dr. King—who had suffered perhaps most of all—who ignited the crowd with words that might have been written by the sad brooding man enshrined within” (1).
James Reston, on the same New York Times front page, declared that King “touched the vast audience. Until then the pilgrimage was merely a great spectacle” (1). The Time Magazine article about the rally clearly understood the importance of King’s speech: “King’s particular magic had enslaved his audience,” Time said of the prepared portion of King’s text, while particularly praising the extemporized section with which the speech ended as “catching, dramatic, inspirational” (“Beginning”). Not every major news outlet recognized the importance of King’s speech.
The Washington Post, for example, focused on the speech delivered by A. Philip Randolph, without even mentioning King’s (Branch 886). The historic and literary brilliance of Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg had also not been universally recognized by journalists. The fact that Lincoln’s speech became so famous is doubly remarkable when one considers how few people actually heard it or saw so much as a photograph of Lincoln delivering it. Illustrators would fill in the visual gaps that photographers likeMatthew Brady had left out.
There is Martin Luther King Jr. s “I Have a Dream” Speech 187 only one photograph of Lincoln on the speaker’s platform and it was taken from some distance away (Kunhardt, Kunhardt, and Kunhardt 315). King’s speech, by contrast, was forever wedded to a set of visual images—of Lincoln’s statue, of the responsive throng, and of King himself, visibly moved by his own words. It is difficult to explain precisely how King’s speech went from privately copyrighted words to cherished public property, but surely the number of people who saw and heard and felt his speech live was an important ingredient.
In the case of Lincoln’s speech, it helped that it was apparently spare and simple, something school children could easily read, memorize, and declaim. At eighteen minutes, King’s speech is roughly six times as long as Lincoln’s, but the dramatic climax of the speech is short enough to replay in honoring King or in the retelling of civil rights movement history, and the imagery of the speech is often striking. Both King’s and Lincoln’s speeches were tied to a momentous event, and the messages of both can be appreciated, if not fully understood, by successive generations without providing detailed historical context.
The same cannot be said of Lincoln’s lawyerly and highly nuanced First Inaugural Address, or for that matter King’s Vietnam era antiwar speech, “A Time to Break Silence. ” The addresses at Gettysburg and the Lincoln Memorial abridge tumultuous chapters in American history. Martyrdom, Memorialization, and Mass Circulation The martyrdom of Lincoln and King did much to propel rehearsals of their deeds and words. Pulitzer Prize winning historian David Garrow agrees with King biographer Drew Hansen that the speech received little further mention until after King was assassinated.
Although King was honored by Time as its Man of the Year in 1964, the same year he won the Nobel Peace Prize, prior to King’s assassination there was not a reason for the press to commemorate King’s biography or place in history. The identification between King and his enunciated “dream” heard by millions was unavoidable and seemingly inevitable. Soon after his death, Motown Records reissued a single recording of the “Dream” speech (Waller 48). Eulogizing King in 1968, Time spoke of the “dream” peroration of his speech as the peak of his oratorical career (“Transcendent”).
While Corretta King asked supporters to “join us in fulfilling his dream” (Rugaber 1), the New York Times structured its eulogy of “the fallen martyr” by discussing aspects of his “dream” (“He had a dream” E12), and in another article judged that his speech at the LincolnMemorial was “the high point of Dr. King’s war for civil rights” (Mitgang E1). King himself perpetuated his identification with “the dream” by introducing it into his later speeches. 188 ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes, and Reviews Immediately after the assassination, Democratic Congressmen proposed the establishment of a Martin Luther King Jr. oliday, but it did not come to fruition until 1983 (Hansen, The Dream 216).
The holiday itself has given impetus for annual memorializing of King and synoptic renderings of his life. Thus, the speech, particularly the prophetic “dream” section and dramatic conclusion, continued to be heard by virtually every generation of Americans. The speech was widely anthologized and was so widely taught in college public speaking classes that in 1982 Haig Bosmajian published an article in Communication Education to correct inaccurate versions of the speech.
In 1998, Time listed it as one of only four of the “century’s greatest speeches,” putting the speech in a firmament with speeches by Churchill, Roosevelt, and Kennedy and offering an abbreviated quotation of the “dream” section and peroration (“Four”). Within recent years, two books have been written about the speech, as books were also written about the Gettysburg address (Sunnemark; Hansen, The Dream). There are few American speeches so important as to inspire book-length treatments. The anointing of the speech by the media has been a mixed blessing.
Historians and civil rights proponents caution against the condensation of a rich life into a single event. King’s later speeches, which include continued references to his dream, proved less successful in the North than they had been in the South. “I have felt my dreams falter,” he said in Chicago in 1965, and on Christmas Eve 1967, reflecting on his own life, he added a dream reference made famous by poet Langston Hughes: “I am personally the victim of deferred dreams, of blasted hopes.
In his final years, the sweeping imagery of his famous 1963 speech gave way to a more focused advocacy on behalf of African Americans in their struggles for jobs, higher salaries, better working conditions, and integration (Hansen, “King’s Dreams” E11). King also adamantly opposed the VietnamWar and called for a guaranteed family income. Worried about the dissolution of the civil rights movement, he argued for a more aggressive and disruptive brand of nonviolence, threatened boycotts, and even suggested obstructing the national Democratic and Republican conventions (“Transcendent”).
Because King’s rhetoric is defined by the celebrated dream speech, his later speeches, which do not fit this model, are relatively unremembered. How much “I Have a Dream” has come to represent Martin Luther King is revealed by the planned national memorial in Washington, DC, for which ground was recently broken. Situated between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the Martin Luther King Memorial will include structures and elements that materially evoke King’s speeches, particularly “I Have a Dream. Clayborne Carson, the director of the King Paper’s Project at Stanford University, offered suggestions for the design selected from among more than 900 submissions.
He proposed that King’s public words be used as inspiration for the structures in the open-air Martin Luther King Jr. ‘s “I Have a Dream” Speech 189 memorial. Thus the features of the memorial include a “mountain of despair” and a “stone of hope,” reflecting a phrase from the speech. There is a fountain meant to symbolize the biblical quotation King used in the speech, the passage that “Justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.
There are naves, representing the leaders of the civil rights movement, “hewn from rock, with rough edges on the outside, and smooth stone on the inside,” again an homage to a biblical passage in King’s dream speech (“The rough places shall be made plane and the crooked places shall be made straight”) (Konigsmark 1B). The importance of King’s speech in American history is also illustrated by its incorporation at the Lincoln Memorial. Visitors can watch footage of King’s speech and note the spot where King delivered the speech, which is conspicuously marked with an X.
Conclusion Historical interest in how King came to include the “I have a dream” section is comparable to the interest in how Lincoln composed his Gettysburg Address, which has produced tales of fanciful composition on an envelope while en route to Gettysburg. King had been given seven minutes to deliver his speech and his prepared text fit roughly into that time limit until King departed from his text to declare that “We will not be satisfied until justice runs down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. The voluble affirmation from the audience made King reluctant to continue reading from his manuscript.
At this crucial turn, King recast the subdued request that the attendees should “go back to our communities” with a dynamic series of imperatives: “Go back to Mississippi. Go back to South Carolina. Go back to Louisiana. Go back to the slums and ghettos of our Northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. ” Mahalia Jackson, who had earlier sung a black spiritual, shouted from behind King: “Tell ‘em about the dream, Martin.
Whether through the singer’s prompting or by his own initiative, King launched nearly seamlessly into the now famous sentences that embodied his dream (Branch 881–82). There are competing accounts of why King chose to depart from his text and prepared conclusion to improvise the “I have a dream” refrain. While Corretta said that he had considered including this section beforehand if the moment was right, in a 1963 interview King remembered that he included it on an impulse: “I just felt I wanted to use it here.
I don’t know why. I hadn’t thought about it before the speech” (Hansen, The Dream). King’s version lends credence to Coretta’s idea that it was inspired by a higher power (King). Inspired prophecy should not require a prepared text, and extemporaneous speech, like the “winged words” of Homer’s heroes, is regarded as more authentic than written ones. 190 ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes, and Reviews No one, not even King, could anticipate the place his scintillating speech would take in public memory.
In 1963 King delivered 350 speeches and sermons. His message and rhetoric were often the same although the size of his audience and the amplitude of his public exposure were never so great. Of course, the speech itself is powerful and memorable, but contextual forces, including the live airing of the speech, King’s assassination, and the enactment of a national holiday celebrating King all contributed to making “I Have a Dream” a symbol of King’s life, which in turn is a symbol of the civil rights movement.
It was and continues to be a media event. It expresses in shorthand the sentiments that the public is supposed to recall. What was a performed text delivered with a political purpose has been translated by the media into a symbolic narrative that casts King as the heroic voice of those for whom the dream had not yet become a reality.Many find it interesting to glimpse inside the lives of famous thinkers in an effort to understand where such thought and intelligence is rooted. Famous thinkers have little in common with what makes them reach their level of achievement (Goodman & Fritchie, 2011). In that tone, here is a peek into the routines and rituals of Martin Luther King Jr. and Cornel West that writers, philosophers, and statesmen have depended on to keep their work on track and their thoughts flowing.
Whether you need inspiration to make it through the next college semester of your bachelor’s degree, finishing up your master’s degree program, or are working on a future best-selling novel, explore the contributions to society these men have created, how their personal, social, and political environments helped with their creativity, how they solve their ideas and problems, how their ideas were implemented, as well as what they could have done differently along with comparing their creative process.
Martin Luther King made many contributions to society at the most difficult time. He helped African American’s gain civil rights and equality in America. He completed these contributions through actions like the bus boycott that he led in Montgomery, Alabama. The boycott fought against city buses that refused to allow African Americans to sit in the front seats of the buses. This boycott led to a citywide boycott of the bus system until the rules were changed. He also led the march from Selma to Montgomery along with other protestors as they voiced their right to vote.
Dr. King not only led marches but he also gave what is now famous speeches like “Give Us a Ballot” “I Have a Dream” “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” that also helped with his movement. Through the speeches Dr. King had the ability to reach many in delivering his thoughts and creativity toward his movement. Dr. King also published many books like Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, Strength to Love, Why We Can’t Wait, and Where Do We Go From Here? These books also helped with Dr. King’s movement to reach people all over the United States to see his vision.
Dr. Cornel West has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics in order to keep alive the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice. Dr. West stated, “You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people if you don’t serve the people.” Cornel West contributions to society has been monumental, he is a motivational speaker in politics, education, talk radio and even major motion pictures.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay
Martin Luther King was a major driving force during the 1950-1960s African American civil rights movement. Following his influence in fighting for the respect of equal human rights, Luther has become one of the most recognized human rights icons in the American nation. According to available historical information, born in 1929, Luther started his civil rights activist activities during his early ages. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott due to segregation practices, which compromised the principle of equality of all American citizens (Darby, 1990).
True from history, Luther brought much influence in the war against racial segregation and discrimination. Just to be appreciated is the fact that despite the provisions that all men are equal during the declaration of independence in the 18th century, racial discrimination was a common practice in the early twentieth century. Historical information indicate that the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King in the 963 March on Washington triggered the African Americans into fight for their human rights (Darby, 1990).
Conducting his affairs uniquely, Luther is praised advocating a non-violent approach to the realization of equal human rights in the American nation (Darby, 1990). Indeed, this was the underlying reason behind why he was given the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in ending racial segregation and l discrimination through non-violent means in 1964. In addition to his impact on the American community, Luther finds his honor in advocating against the violation of human rights during the Vietnam War in 1968.
Following his influence in the civil rights war, Luther is globally appreciated as a crucial fighter for freedom (Darby, 1990). To emphasis on this claim, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 nine years after his assassination. Such are also found in the establishment of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a U. S. national holiday in 1986. References Darby, J. (1990). Martin Luther King. Jr. Minneapolis: Lerner Publishing Group.
Martin Luther King Jr. Essay
Two of his accomplishments were the Montgomery Bus Boycott which ended racial segregation starting with Rosa Parks being arrested for not giving up her seat on the bus which was illegal due to racial segregation laws.
Qualities that made him a great leader was that he had the ability to shape a vision that was compelling enough to make others believe in it and participate in it. He had a strong system of values and morals. He was also courageous, decisive, bold, and strong.
The path that led him to being a great leader started when he became a pastor. Afterward he became a civil rights activist, a humanitarian, and was involved in the African-american civil rights movement.
Qualities of Martin Luther King Jr that I would want to emulate would be having the courage to stand up for what I believe even if it meant being hated by many people. Ultimately he was courageous enough to die for what he believed and I would hope to want to do the same if I truly believed in something that much. A world leader that I think was bad for their followers is Fidel Castro.
Qualities that made him a bad leader was that he was power hungry and did whatever he wanted to retain that power even if included suppressing his own people through violence.
He exerted power over others by using brutal punishment if people did not obey his every command. He used coercion in order to rule. He also used his position as president to withhold resources from his people.
His leadership skills that contributed to bad results were using brute force and severe punishment to gain control over his people. He would use firing squads to prove his severity when punishing those who stood up to him.
Fidel Castro’s greatest atrocities and crimes – Introduction | Babalú Blog. (2014, June 7). Retrieved January 26, 2015, from http://babalublog.com/fidel-castros-greatest-atrocities-and-crimes/
Martin Luther King Jr. (2015). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 05:43, Jan 25, 2015, from http://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-king-jr-9365086.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay
Good vs. Evil has been a classic contrast used for centuries. It has been used in films, books, plays, and even children’s tales. But what constitutes good and evil? What determines if an act is good or evil? The things that we know, the things we believe, are not our own original ideas. That is a known fact. Everything we know and believe was influenced by our upbringing, our family and friends or lack of, our education; basically every thing that comes into contact with us. Even for the people who would say “I hated my parents and my education so they didn’t influence my beliefs! ” Well, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but they did.
The need that you may have had to rebel caused you to believe in opposite things from your family or whoever you wanted to rebel against. But thats another question for another chapter. In todays world, we trust our own beliefs as to what is good and what is evil. But what defines this? Most people would tell you that the “norm” defines good and evil. Society tells you that helping an old lady across the street is good and shooting a man in the head is evil. Don’t get me wrong though, I do believe in good and doing the right thing, I just want to portray a philosophical approach to this contrast.
Back to the point, if everyone trusts the “norm” to decide what is good and what is evil; then isn’t that a form of mob mentality? Mob mentality is something that people are constantly warned about in literature through out time, an example being Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. So I have reached a paradox. If the “norm” is decided by the majority of people, and the majority of people coming together to create an idea is mob mentality, and mob mentality is considered bad and wrong; then aren’t our ideas of good and evil created by something that is not good in the first place?
If you are at this point reading and wondering what my answer will be to this question, I want to tell you now not to get your hopes up because I don’t have a difinitive answer to that. Let’s bring this idea back in time to the early times of human existence. What are a human’s basic needs? Food, water, clothing and shelter, right? I’ve heard this hundreds of times. Well if we humans are in fact animals, then we have a set of instinctive needs. Just like a new born cougar enters the world with instinct for hunting, don’t we as well? If society wasn’t here to set guidelines wouldn’t we just be living in and amongst our instinctive needs?
If one of our instinctive needs is to eat, and some of us choose to eat dogs or cats (as they do in some countries) then why do we have animal help groups breathing down people’s necks to make this stop? Because it is evil, right? But is it really? I myself could not stand the thought of me eating a dog or cat, and that is because I come from a society where these animals are pets, your friends. But why is it wrong for people from another society to do this, when they don’t see it the same way we do? Who is right here? Of course, each side thinks they are right but is there a real answer to this question?
Let’s give a scenario; two men break into your house, they kill everyone in your family except you and your mother. They put a gun to your mother’s head and say “We will kill her and you will get everything, the house, the car, the money, the only thing we require is that you join us and work for us. ” What would you do? Do you take their offer and watch them kill your mother, or do you tell them no and die for it. It is a lose-lose situation, there is no realistic decision you could make that would create a win. If you let them kill your mother, you will live out the rest of your life with that hanging over your head.
If you say no, then you both die. The people that are doing this are evil, right? Why? I would say because they are murdering innocent people, just wiping their existence away with the pull of a trigger. But do they think that? What if the person with the gun thought what he was doing was ok? What if he grew up on the streets and the only thing that he learned was violence. If violence was the norm for him, and it conflicts with our norm, which one is right? If you should always trust in your beliefs, what if your beliefs are wrong? Lets take an example from history.
Martin Luther King Jr. vs. Hitler. Good vs. Evil, right? For argument’s sake, lets classify the general population of the world into two groups. Group A are the people who idolize MLK Jr. and despise Hitler. Group B are the people who idolize Hitler and despise MLK Jr. Both sides are amongst a group that holds the same beliefs and ideals as themselves. They all believe they are right, and if the idea of wrong and right is determined by the norm, and the norm is what the majority of people decides, then aren’t they both right? Doesn’t this faulty decision lead to extreme conflict?
Look at all the past wars in this world. They all boil down to the basic fact that each side had conflicting beliefs and each side believed that they were doing the right thing. So does that make each side wrong or right? Good or Evil? What do you do to fix this major flaw in today’s society? Be yourself. Individuality. Don’t allow yourself to be too heavily influenced by the things around you. Take everything you see and keep it, soak it all up, leave no stone unturned, and when you think you have everything, then decide for yourself.
The truth is what we all seek in one form or another. Some are content to leave things be and others aren’t. For those of us uncontent to settle for anything less than the truth, we are fighting a losing battle. I leave you with this quote from Wilkie Collins “Are there, infinitely varying with each individual, inbred forces of Good and Evil in all of us, deep down below the reach of mortal encouragement and mortal repression — hidden Good and hidden Evil, both alike at the mercy of the liberating opportunity and the sufficient temptation? “
Martin Luther King Jr. Essay
Martin Luther King, Jr is a prominent African American in the history of the United States of America renown for his civil rights activism in his life making him an important human rights icon even today. Martin Luther King Jr was born in Atlanta, Georgia on 15th January 1929 in a Christian family with his father Martin Luther King Sr. a reverend and his mother Alberta Williams King. He had two siblings, an older sister and a younger brother. King grew up in Atlanta and attended Bookker T Washington High School. He joined Morehouse College at the age of fifteen and later in 1948 graduated with a degree in Arts majoring in sociology.
He later enrolled in Cruzer Theological Seminary for theological studies and graduated in 1951. He enrolled in Boston University for his doctorate in systematic theology and received his PHD in 1955. He married Coretta Scott in 1953 and had four children. In 1954 he became Dextor Avenue Baptist Church Pastor at the age of 25. In 1955 he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1957 assisted the founding of Southern Christian Leadership conference, 1963 led March on Washington where he delivered his “I have a Dream” speech and in1964, he received Nobel Peace prize.
Thereafter his focuses was on poverty Vietnam War and religion and in 1968 April 4th, he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. His significance is still felt and have been rewarded the 1977 Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2004 Congressional Gold Medal and the United States further established a national holiday in his respect in 1986. (Bruns 1-30) Martin Luther King Jr accomplished a lot in his life. The 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott which he led was as a result of the oppressions and discriminations that African Americans were going through from the dominating whites.
The Jim Crow laws existed and which segregated non-white communities in public services. The boycott lasted for a year leading to King’s arrest and his house bombing. However, he influenced the end of racial segregation on the buses and Jim Crow laws amendment in 1965. With other civil rights activists, Martin Luther founded the Southern Christian leadership conference in 1957. This group aimed at mobilizing the black churches against civil right abuse. Kings applied non violence techniques in his awareness a concept he borrowed from Mahatma Gandhi.
In 1960s the American politics were dominated by civil right injustices. Kings therefore mobilized the society on right to vote, labor rights, civil rights and desegregation. He became so influential from public opinion sympathy. However, he was successful in influencing the civil rights act of 1964 and voting rights act 1965. In his fight against desegregation, King found himself in conflict with the law and in life threatening incidents. At one time he was stubbed on the chest by a woman because of his stance. In 1961 he was arrested and jailed along others in Albany movement.
In 1963 along with SCLC he led the Birmingham campaigns that lasted for two months against all racial segregations and discriminatory laws. In these campaigns they confronted with the law enforcers and many were arrested. Children also took into the campaigns. Despite Kings Advocate for non-violent campaigns, at times pressure exceeded and violence was reported. These campaigns were significant in the Jim Crow laws removal and King’s reputation growth. He was also influential in the 1964 St Augustine and Selma Marches against white’s harassment.
The 1963 March of Washington was very significant in the history of Martin Luther Kings as well as that of the United States. It attracted around half a million people from all racial backgrounds. It is at this place that he voiced his ‘I have a dream’ speech that influenced and still influences Americans even today. The march aimed at voicing freedom and equality in all sectors like in jobs. Along with other civil rights movements and activists, they voiced on poor wages, desegregations in public institutions like schools, protection of civil movements from police brutality, self government for Washington among others.
There after, he continued with his activism expressing his stance on compensation of the disadvantaged and black Americans. He was involved in Bloody Sunday saga and influenced the Chicago marches that included the Belmont Cragin, Bogan, Gege Park, and Evergreen Park alongside others. He also opposed the Vietnam War terming the American government involvement as goal oriented and as the purveyor of the violence. “Beyond Vietnam” speech was very significant in his stance on Vietnam. He basically criticized the United States government involvement in to this war.
All these pressures and influences he had against the American government made him very insecure. His life was endangered with instances of even physical assaults and life threats. All these led to his assassination in 1968 when in his civil duties. His death still remains a controversy as his enemies ranged from the government to individuals. His influence still remains even today. His is known to have influenced many prominent people including Jesse Jackson and Barrack Obama. His influence was also felt in the third world countries across Africa and Asia.
(Bruns 1-143) The thoughts and the life of Martin Luther Kings Jr are very significant not only to the Americans but to the world at large. Many of the third world countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia have drawn their political dominance struggle from his teachings. By the year 1968 in his assassination, many African countries had acquired independence but elements of Europeans control still dominated their political and economic settings. They have applied king’s thoughts to seek fully their independence.
In South Africa, prominent people against apartheid like Desmond Tutu, Nelson and Winnie Mandela, Alan Boesky have advocated kings thought in their struggle. The social divisions characterizing most nations in the world have brought discrimination of the lower classes. For instance the Rich discriminate the poor. The poor have continued struggling and in most cases they have used the kings’ non violence strategy for fear that the rich would overcome them in violence. (Roof 113-115) African American originally migrated in the United States as slaves. They were discriminated and oppressed in their places of work.
Even after the abolishment of slavery, elements of oppression and discrimination were still rampant in American society. There was and have been the need to address this issue as the superiority nature of US depends on its entire people and not a particular race. Martin Luther was among the many people who have dedicated their lives to create a racism free society. He challenged the United States government which led to the abolishment of constitution based discriminative elements. It was upon his efforts that many other anti-segregation and civil rights have emerged.
They have challenged consecutive government enhancing equality in race in the United States society. As a super power, United States have significantly influenced the global community against racism. It has influenced the united nation to act against racism in European world a place where racism is one of the major social issues. His influence is not only in black people but also in minority group in the world. Martin Luther King Jr is celebrated for he sowed the seeds of healing and hope in United States. His leadership was courageous, truthful, and compassionate of dignity and humility.
He advocated for forgiveness, unconditional love and nonviolence element that most of the successful leader in the world today have adopted. His expression in the dream of America has in itself a lot to copy. He emphasized multiracial nation bound by justice, peace and reconciliation. His holiday is very significant in the American unity. There is not other day that brings all races together in a vibrant spirit of togetherness. The Hispanic, African Americans, Native Americans and all other immigrants feel they are part of the Luther’s dream on America.
He had a vision on the world that its people and nations will overcome poverty, war, racism and violence. He had a vision on ecumenical solidarity which implied that all faiths have a significant contribution to the beloved society. His life and thoughts have also had an influence to many people in that his endurance in threats and beatings for the sake of the freedom for others. (Rev King Holiday) In education, he influenced sociology. He was an advocate of non violence reconciliation and unconditional love perspectives that can be applied in solving social conflicts.
His emphasis on “what is the most loving way I can resolve this conflict? ” in solving problem is the most diplomatic method that many nations have applied in solving their differences. He prompted love to all mankind. In his holiday Americans take that opportunity to help the unfortunate the sick and the poor in their society. His life is also significant to the Christianity way of life. It emphasized the love of God and the love for your neighbor as the greatest commandment. He was food of quoting the Bible and almost lived a perfect way. Jesus Himself died for the good of the people to set them free from their sins.
Martin Luther’s died in the war for freedom of his people. He has influence many non-Christians to join the faith and also many Christians to imitate his strategies (The Struggle Begins) The election of Barrack Obama as the president of the United States is a reflection of Martin Luther King fight against racism in the US. It is an evidence of the extent the United States people have reached in race relation. It reflects Americans citizen’s decisions not on the color of the skin but on the content and characters of its leaders. Obama’s appointment can be described to be a fulfillment of King’s dream.
He expressed his hopes in an equitable society and appealed to the moral consciousness of Americans. It is under this inspiration that the American voted in. Obama’s win was also on caution to those amongst the American who are still in racism ideologies. King’s influence will continue as such racist are now likely to reform making US a racism free society. (Zaid) Martin Luther king Jr was a young man who has influenced a lot of young men around the world. He worked tirelessly to fully realize his potential despite the challenges he came across. Unfortunately he was assassinated.
His life has been a challenge to many youth who are vulnerable in loosing hope. His life is a testimony implying everybody can succeed in all areas in life. The ideology that the more one is aged the more successful is a thing of the past. Many youths have exploited their talents and have really succeeded under king’s inspiration. They are evident in sports, entertainment, politics, business and education. He emphasized on moral consciousness a concept that when adapted, one can refrain from civil disobedience reducing violation through drug abuse and other crimes.
For any society to succeed in all dimensions of life, it must observe equality, be moral conscious, obey the civil rights, and use friendly strategy in solving conflicts. These were the king’s major advocacies. He is a significant icon in the United States success. Therefore, his strategies should be used all over the world in foreign and domestic polices. His thoughts and strategies can be effective in solving many conflicts around the world. Nation-nation conflicts may be resolved using a more friendly and diplomatic strategy.
Domestic violence especially in African communities may be solved without violation of human rights and civil rights. Even as Kings influence continue to be felt all over, even as his dreams start fulfilling a lot need to be done to address the uncovered issues that still oppress the minority and the poor. He fought for civil movements and who should in turn continue challenging the violators of justice.
Roof, C. W.World Order and Religion: SUNY Press, 1991: 113 – 115 Bruns, R. Martin Luther King, Jr: A Biography: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006: 1 – 143 Rev King Holiday. Martin Luther king. Retrieved on Monday, December 08, 2008 from, http://www. theholidayspot. com/martin_luther_king_day/meaning. htm Zaid, I. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , Barack Obama, and the Fate of America. 2008. Retrieved on Monday, December 08, 2008 from, http://www. newislamicdirections. com/nid/notes/dr_martin_luther_king_jr_barack _obama_and_the_fate_of_america/ The Struggle Begins. Lecture 25 Martin Luther Kings. Retrieved on Monday, December 08, 2008 from, http://www. wfu. edu/~matthetl/perspectives/twentysix. html