Martin Luther King Essay
“I have a dream that one day my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” (“Martin Luther King Jr.”). These wise and upholding words of confidence and determination changed the face of America during a time of hate and discrimination. King’s inspirational leadership and speeches helped make a local bus protest into a historical event (“King, Martin Luther Jr.”) He gathered thousands of people, both black and white, to many encouraging protests and meetings to bring a hateful and racist world to peace.
His strategy of “encouraging nonviolent protest and interracial cooperation helped him to fight effectively again the southern system” (King, Martin Luther Jr.”). These strategies were also based on the belief of Indian pacifist Mohandas Gandhi. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ambition to seek a perfect world was extravagant; he will always be in the minds and hearts of Americans in years to come.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia (“Martin Luther King Jr.”). His birth name was Michael, but he later changed it to Martin (“Martin Luther King Jr.”). His parent’s names were Alberta and Martin Luther King, Sr. Alberta was a homemaker and Martin Sr. was a minister (“Martin Luther King Jr.”). Martin Jr. also had an older sister, named Christine, and a younger brother, named Alfred
Rogers 2 (“Martin Luther King Jr.). Young Martin grew up in Atlanta to a very loving family highly devoted to service and faith. When Martin was young, he first encountered racism when his friends’ mother (who was white) did not allow him to play with her white son (Darby 8). Martin was too young to understand completely the meaning of why he was not allowed but the message he was simple, blacks were different from whites (Darby 9).
Martin’s knowledge was known at a young age. He began reading at a very early age; his favorite books were about black history and the people who made it (Darby 13). He went to school at local segregated schools in Atlanta. He went to school when he was only five years old, but at the time it was only legal for kids to start school at the age of six. After officials found this out, he was forced to wait another year and start again. Martin attended Young Street Elementary and David Elementary Schools.
When Martin was a junior in high school he was taking college exams that showed how advanced he was (“Martin Luther King Jr.”). He was able to go to college at the age of fifteen, skipping two years of high school. Martin attended Morehouse College, an all boy’s school and one of the finest black colleges in the country at the time. He studied sociology and received his bachelor’s degree Morehouse in 1948 (“Martin Luther King Jr.”). At the time Martin was thinking about becoming a minister.
His father being a key role model on his decision to become a minister, he described his decision as an “inner urge,” calling him to “serve God and humanity (Carson 501). He was ordained during his final semester at Morehouse (Carson 502). At this time and point in his life, this is also where Martin began to precede his first steps towards his political spotlight.
After departing Morehouse, King increased his understanding of liberal Christian thoughts while attending Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania from 1948 to 1951 (Carson 502). King had interest in Reinhold Niebuhr neorthodoxy which emphasized the impact of social evil. Martin added he didn’t begin a quest or method to eliminate social evil until he attended Crozer (Darby 20). Even as he continued to question and modify his own religious belief, he was performing outstandingly and graduated at the top of his class (Carson 502). He won the Plafker Award for the most outstanding student and received the J. Luis Crozer fellowship to study at any university of his choice (Darby 21). His parents gave him and hug and bought him a brand new Chevy.
After graduating from Crozer, King began his doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University in School of Theology (Carson 502). The paper King had written during his time at Boston University had showed little originality but much plagiarism but had also formulated a decent perspective (Carson 502). By the time King had completed his doctoral studies in 1955, King had a strong view upon a wide range of theological and philosophical texts to express his views with precise information (Carson 502).
His new and increased theological insights became known as he expanded his preaching activities at local Boston churches where he had assisted his father at masses. Also during King’s stay in Boston, he had met Coretta Scott, an Alabama born Antioch graduate who was then a student at the New England Conservatory of Music (Carson 502). On June 18, 1953, the students were married in Marion, Alabama, where Coretta’s family lived (Carson 502).
During the following academic year, King began work on his dissertation which he completed during the spring of 1955. Thus finishing his dissertation, he was awarded a doctorate (Ph.D.) I theology and became Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Darby 23). Although he had thought about pursing an academic career, King decided to accept an offer to become the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama (Carson 502).
In 1955, King was selected by the Montgomery Improvement Association to protest the arrest of NAACP official Rosa Parks for refusing to give her bus seat up to a white man (Carson 502). With King as their leader, the association led a year long boycott. King gained his leadership abilities through his religious background to gradually form a strategy that involved black churches to gain white support (Carson 502). Many of King’s beliefs were also mixed with the concepts on Indian pacifist leader Mohandas Gandhi to enforce non-violence during his protests.
During King’s speech at a local segregated black church, he had gathered four thousand people to hear the story of Rosa Parks (Darby 34). After Martin’s speech, people cheered and stomped their feet as their reaction. The Civil Rights Movement had begun with King as their leader (Darby 35).
King had led the MIA’s plan to the use of blacks not using buses until they were legal to have the right to sit anywhere they would please. During the time when blacks did not ride buses, Martin would preach too many to “not boast or brag,” and if struck, “do not strike back” (Darby 43). One evening Martin was pulled over by an officer on his way home, he said he was speeding (Darby 29). The officer had told Martin that he was to be taken to the Montgomery Police, but the way he was taking him was a way through Klansman land. Klansman land was where many African Americans were taken, beaten, and hung without anybody knowing (Darby 40). Martin was very scared but soon relieved after seeing the sign: Montgomery Jail ahead (Darby 40).
King was soon released from jail too good news; Alabama had passed the new desegregation law, this meant victory for the blacks and the beginning of change for both races (Darby 42). With the victory, Martin cautioned black people to accept their victory with dignity and to resist violence. When King had time away from his social life, he liked spending time with his three kids. Spending time with his kids had made him stronger and more ready mentally for what was to come (Darby 61).
King’s campaign to end segregation at lunch counters and in hiring practices drew nationwide attention when police turned dogs and five horses onto demonstrators (“Martin Luther King Jr.”). King was jailed with hundreds of supporters, many of them being schoolchildren (“Martin Luther King Jr.”). After being released from prison, Martin and other Civil Rights Leaders began organizing the historic march in Washington D.C. A mix of races of about 200,000 gathered peacefully at the Lincoln Memorial to demand equal justice for all citizens (“Martin Luther King Jr.”).
Here crowds were intrigued by King’s uplifting “I have a Dream” speech (“Martin Luther King Jr.”). His speech emphasized his faith that all men, someday, would be brothers (“Martin Luther King Jr.”). His speech encouraged national opinion that resulted in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Martin Luther King Jr.”). The act enforced desegregation of public accommodation and outlawing discrimination in public owned facilities (“Martin Luther King Jr.”).
The eventful year awarded King the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in December. Opposition hit within the Civil Rights movement during March of 1965 at a demonstration in Selma, Alabama. The opposition was aimed at giving blacks federal voting rights that would provide legal support for the African Americans in the south (“Martin Luther King Jr.”). King organized the initial march from Selma to the state capital in Montgomery but did not lead it himself. The marchers were turned back with tear gas and night sticks.
Determined for a second march, King set out with fifteen hundred marchers, black and white until the group came to a barrage of state troopers. Instead of forcing a confrontation, he led his followers to kneel and pray then unexpectedly turn back (“Martin Luther King Jr.”). The country was amazed by there actions resulting in the passage of Voting Rights of 1965 (“Martin Luther King Jr.”).
In 1957, he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the civil rights movement (“King, Martin Luther, Jr.”). His ideas were based from Gandhi in the organization.
In a period from 1957-1968, King traveled our six million miles and spoke over twenty five hundred times (“King, Martin Luther, Jr.”). He was arrested at least twenty times (“King, Martin Luther, Jr.”). He was assaulted at least four times (“King, Martin Luther, Jr.”). He was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963 (“King, Martin Luther, Jr.”).
His strategy of encouraging nonviolent protest and interracial cooperation enabled him to fight against the Southern system (“King, Martin Luther, Jr.”). King’s inspirational leadership and his speeches helped to evaluate a local bus protest into a historical event (“King, Martin Luther, Jr.”). He was not only the symbolic leader of African Americans but also a world figure. He was the youngest man ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (thirty five years of age). He also turned down the prize money of $54, 123 and it would go to the civil rights movement.
He delivered his famous speech of “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” April 3, 1968 (“King, Martin Luther, Jr.”). This had been King’s last speech. At 6:01 p.m. of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he lead a protest for striking sanitation workers, he was assassinated (“King, Martin Luther, Jr.”). Martin was a man, he was not God. His charismatic and powerful way of speaking had changed American lives until present day. He was a man of vision and determination. He was often overworked and overtired, but this had never stopped him of dreaming what could be.I have a dream was one of the most powerful and influential speeches of all time, it not only created the realisation that the Negro was not free, it persuaded that of white people to make a change for the benefit of the African Americans. The African American civil rights movement was creeping forward but two individuals created a greater atmosphere for the reinforcement of the movement, sure William Wilberforce abolished the slave trade for Britain in 1807, and that was just the start, but 203 years later the African Americans are now equal.
It took time but nonetheless it happened. In essence the African American civil rights movement was Martin Luther king’s dream, and that dream has come true. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia; He was the middle child from a family of five. Growing up in Atlanta, King attended Booker T. Washington High School. An intelligent student, he graduated from Morehouse with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology. The bus boycott of 1955 was the first step in king’s revolutionary ideas. The boycott lasted 382 days.
After which the Supreme Court of the United States had declared the laws requiring segregation on buses as illegal, Negroes and whites rode the buses as equals. During these days of boycott, King was arrested, but after he was released, he emerged as the Negro leader. King came from a world where he was part of an inferior race, it was this very world that needed to change and martin Luther King Jr was the one to start the changes that would soon shape the world. The bus boycott was just the beginning of his incredible contribution.
Martin Luther King Jr then went on to be one of the most influential people among those who changed the world for the better; he died fighting the cause of justice that is now known as the African American civil rights movement. King wanted a better world where his children were not subjects to racial oppression and judged not by their skin colour but by their character and personality, where the coloured man was equal to the white man, Martin Luther king Jr was so inspired and passionate about change to come about, and he started the bus boycott, taking a stand for what was righteous.
The fact that Martin Luther was an African American himself was just as much motivation for his actions and dedication to the African American civil rights movement. Martin Luther king Jr understood the pain caused by racial discrimination and through understanding this pain first hand, made him realise that he wanted to make a change and through doing so, started the bus boycott in 1955.
Martin Luther king was so inspired to eventually give his most well known speech which is “I have a dream”, this speech changed the African American revolution and spoke to every person in the world, whether you were a man of colour or not, it still had meaning, he said that we should treat all people equally and not judge someone by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. He was inspired and became an influential person for many. John Kennedy came from a rich and privileged Irish-American family. Even so, the family had to leave Boston, and move to New York.
In Boston, the family had been held at arm’s length by those rich families who saw their Irish background as vulgar and the family’s wealth as lacking ‘class’. The Kennedy’s hoped that the more cosmopolitan New York would allow them to access high society. This introduction to bigotry and discrimination should have given Kennedy some kind of empathetic understanding of what life was like for African Americans. However, the opposite would appear to be true. However, during the presidential campaign and after he was nominated for the Democrats, Kennedy made it clear in his speeches that he was a supporter of civil rights.
Some saw the opposition to the 1957 Act as understandable from a political point of view. Others have adopted a more cynical view which is that Kennedy recognised that he needed the ‘Black Vote’ if he was to beat Nixon. Hence why he said in his campaign speeches that discrimination stained America. Kennedy did not exploit the African American civil rights movement as a scheme to gain more votes, Kennedy wanted the African Americans to be equal, so he took their side, He wanted a better world where blacks and whites were equal, through martin Luther king Jr’s dream, Kennedy also had a vision of this dream where everyone was equal.
A world where everyone is not equal is hardly a world at all, and john F Kennedy was a supporter of the new world, he was inspired both through getting the black vote and making a change for the better, with a vision of the new world. Kennedy helped shape the world to what it is today with equality and harmony through all individuals no matter what the race or colour or religion. Within the three speeches in which I have chosen to analyse, there are three main techniques that all three speakers use. These techniques help to make the speeches more effective and have a deeper impact.
Repetition is a key point throughout all these speeches, in martin Luther king’s speech he keeps repeating about the dream he has “I have a dream that one day… “, The dream is a frame for the future and sets the stage for the rest of the words. ‘Dream’ is vague aspiration. ‘One day’ starts to make it specific. This creates an ambience throughout the audience when he begins to share his dream, those words “I have a dream” is constantly repeated so that the audience remembers his dream, and even today it is a prominent speech.
In JFK’s speech he repeats the phrase “It ought to be possible” he gives examples of what should be possible. “It ought to be possible for American consumers of any colour to receive equal service in places of public accommodation. “; “It ought to be possible, in short, for every American to enjoy the privileges of being American without regard to his race or his colour” this helps the listeners and viewers to get an idea of the dream that both JFK and martin Luther king Jr share. He highlights the importance of what is ‘ought’ to be like to be an American.
Furthermore all speakers use emotive language, in martin Luther king Jr’s speech emotive language is everywhere, “One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. ” We immediately feel sympathetic to the Negro’s because of the oppression that they face in everyday life, martin Luther king uses emotive language in several occasions within his speech both for effect and to get people to realise how harsh negro’s are treated in society. We preach freedom around the world, and we mean it, and we cherish our freedom here at home, but are we to say to the world, and much more importantly, to each other that this is a land of the free except for the Negroes” JFK says this with passion as he repeats martin Luther king’s dream and message, the negro is still not free regardless of this contradiction with the American voice of freedom.
They speak of freedom and peace throughout the world yet, the Negro is still not free, Despite contradictory ideas within the American public, they are forced to feel sympathy for the negro because of these words being spoken. Finally the use of personal pronouns within all three speeches. Martin Luther king specifies the Negro as his personal pronoun, the use of the word in his speech is not to offend but to educate that the African American is still not free; he addresses the Negro people in the crowd and the world. “But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free.
One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination” But not only does he address these people, the speech is aimed at white people because they are the oppressors, yet martin Luther king decides to address the Negro as his collective, everyone who attended that speech was addressed, martin Luther king used personal pronouns to persuade and win over his audience and he changed and aided the African American revolution for the better. In JFK’s civil rights message he uses personal pronouns to win over and side with the audience members. Negro” and “American” are the two personal pronouns used the most throughout this speech.
These are used so that everyone is included within this speech, and hence everyone can be persuaded that a change is needed because they feel as if JFK is talking to them, the use of personal pronoun within all three speeches is used to persuade and win over the people receiving the speeches. “I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. ” This is speaking out to all Americans in a way through the use of a personal pronoun.
Martin Luther King Essay
Martin Luther king Jr was born in January 15th, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents were martin Luther King Sr and Alberta Williams King. His father was initially called Michael King, but after they traveled to Germany, he changed his name to Martin Luther after a German protestant leader Martin Luther. He got married to Coretta Scott in June 1953 in his hometown Alabama. They got four children. Martin Luther king Jr. became a pastor at an age of 25 in Dexter Avenue Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama.
Since Martin Luther King Jr grew up in Atlanta, he schooled at Booker T. Washington High School. Since he was an outstanding student, he skipped 9th and 12th grade and then proceeded to Morehouse College at an age 15 years. In 1948, the King graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in sociology. He later enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania where he got his second degree in bachelor of divinity in 1951. He did his doctoral studies at Boston University and graduated in the year 1955 with a doctor philosophy degree (Rosenberg, 1995).
Martin Luther king was the driving force behind the civil rights movements of the 1960s. He organized peaceful marches to protest against segregation and racial injustices against the blacks in America. His speech of 1963 “I have a Dream” which was directed against peace and racial equality stands out to be one of the most powerful speeches in American history (White, 2010). His efforts to fight equality in America led to expression of his view that all black Americans and other disadvantaged groups should receive compensations for the wrongs done to them in the past.
He stated further that giving black Americans equality could not bring them to the same level as the whites in terms of economic achievements (Brown, 1996). He clarified that he was not trying to recover the lost wages during slavery, but just proposed a government compensatory scheme of about $ 50 billion for a period of ten years to the disadvantaged groups. The King went further and presented this proposal as an application to the common law and clarified that all disadvantaged groups from all races should benefit (Saul, 2010).
Martin Luther king used sermons and speeches to fight for the rights of the disadvantaged groups. Throughout his career as a pastor, he wrote articles and spoke fluently. His efforts to fight for justice are also found in his writings, for example his letter from Birmingham jail which he wrote in 1963. Martin received a Nobel peace prize in 14th October, 1964 for having led non-violent peace protests against racial inequality. He became the youngest recipient of such an award (Rosenberg, 1995).
There were laws which were famously known as Jim Crows laws which prohibited black Americans from boarding buses which were meant for the whites. The blacks were also supposed to leave seats to whites whenever the bus was full. In March 1955, there was a case of a school girl who refused to leave her seat to a white man in accordance with Jim Crows Laws. Martin Luther king happened to be in the Birmingham African American committee which was supposed to preside over the case. Martin and his colleagues dropped the case.
In December the same year, another black woman was arrested for refusing to give out her seat. These events led to the organization of Montgomery bus boycott of 1955. It was organized by Nixon and led by Martin. The boycott remained for about 385 days and a lot of tension built up which led to bombing of the kings house. The boycott led to the arrest of King when he was campaigning. The arrest resulted in a ruling by the United States district court that ended racial discrimination on all Montgomery public buses (Brown, 1996).
In 1957, king and other civil rights activists formed southern Christian leadership conference. The main objective for the formation of the organization was to connect the moral authority and the organizing authority of black churches to carryout non violent protests in the service of civil rights reform. Martin Luther King was the leader of this organization till his death. King widely employed Gandhi’s non violent tactics in his campaigns to correct the civil rights laws which were used in Alabama (Brown, 1996).
Martin Luther knew that properly organized non violent protests opposing the system of southern segregation popularly known as Jim Crows laws would result in wide media coverage of the struggle of the black Americans for equality and voting rights. Media coverage on each day deprivation and indignities directed to the southern blacks and violence and harassment from the segregationist to the civil rights activists and marchers resulted into a wind of sympathetic public opinion that made majority of Americans understand that civil rights movement was the contentious issue in American politics in early1960s.
Still on his campaign trail, King went to Memphis, Tennessee on March 29th 1968 to support black sanitary public workers who were on strike demanding better wages and equal treatment. On his way to Memphis, his flight was delayed due to bomb threat. On 3rd April 1968, king delivered a speech at the world headquarters of the church of God in Christ. Martin was assassinated at 6:01 pm in April 4th, 1968 while at the balcony of Lorraine motel (Saul, 2010). Conclusion
Martin Luther King is fondly remembered by the American people and the world as a whole for having dedicated his entire life to fight for the right of the oppressed. Most of his efforts delivered fruits and black Americans and other disadvantaged groups got rights and liberty. Each year on the third Monday in January, his birthday is celebrated. It is the first national holiday dedicated to a black American. References: Brown, M. (1996). Martin Luther King Jr. Retrieved on February 8, 2010 from: http://www. lib. lsu. edu/hum/mlk/srs216. html Rosenberg, P.
(1995). Martin Luther King – A Different Drum Major. Retrieved on February 8, 2010 from: http://www. hartford-hwp. com/archives/45a/002. html Saul, M. (2010). President Obama, other leaders recall Rev. Martin Luther King and his Achievements. Retrieved on February 8, 2010 from: http://www. nydailynews. com/news/national/2010/01/19/2010-01- 19_recalling_king_and_his_deeds. html White, D. (2010). Wise & Prophetic Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. Retrieved on February 8, 2010 from: http://usliberals. about. com/od/patriotactcivilrights/a/MLKWords. htm.
Martin Luther King Essay
1.In that ways were the African-American people treated differently from white people in the USA in the 1950s. African-Americans were separated from white people by law and discriminated against by the white people. They were referred to as ‘Negros’, which was an insensitive word to call the African-Americans. White people separated children from African-American families and there were ‘coloured’ seats for African-American on public buses.
2.Explain the significant event that took place – propelling King into leadership of the Civil Rights movement? On December 1, 1955, 42 year-old Rosa Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus to go home from a tiring day at work. She sat on the ‘colored’ seats but as several other white passengers boarded, the driver asked them to give up their seats. The other African-Americans reluctantly gave up their seats but Rosa Parks refused and stayed seated. She was arrested for violating the Montgomery City Code and in her trial a week later, she was found guilty, fined $10 and assessed $4 court fee. One the same night as Rosa Parks was arrested, E.D. Nixon met with Martin Luther King Jr. and other local civil right leaders to plan a citywide bus boycott. King was elected to lead because of his three significant traits: his young age, well trained with strong family connections and professional standing. He became the national face of the civil rights movement.
3.What were King’s fundamental beliefs about justice, equality and God? Martin Luther King was born into a Christian home with a preacher father. He went to a Christian college and graduated at 15. He became a minister of a church and married a Christian woman. His strong bonds with God were developed rapidly due to his Christian background in his childhood. His fundamental belief about justice and equality was the unfair and brutal treatment of his people in a modern, white society.
4.How successful was Martin Luther King in putting his beliefs into action? I believe Martin Luther King was very successful in putting his beliefs into action because he was a great leader of the African-Americans and he continues to be remembered as one of the most lauded African-American leaders in history. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 among several other honors.
Reflection Task (200 words in total) 1. Choose a section of King’s speech ‘I have a dream’ that impacts you most, explain why. ‘With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.’
This section of King’s speech ‘I have a dream’ impacts me the most because Martin Luther King points out how much faith can help people through their difficult times and struggles in life. When he refers to faith, I see it as ‘hope in God’. He believes that hope in God will let them work, pray, struggle, go to jail, stand up for freedom together and know that they will be set free one day.
2. Reflectively respond to King’s life and work using the following questions as a guide: •What are your thoughts and/or feelings about his faith or actions? •How does he impress you? •Are you left with any questions? •What are your thoughts about non-violent protest as a way of bringing about change? •In your life, who inspires you to make change and act on you beliefs?
Martin Luther King was a great leader in my opinion because of the effort he puts into his work. His speeches made inspired me to bring justice to the world and bring equality to all races. His actions made me feel compassion for those who suffered during the time were African-Americans were discriminated. Although the African-Americans and the Americans are more equal and the gap between them has been eliminated, I still feel the need to help others who have been discriminated against.
I was most definitely impressed with how much commitment and his perseverance despite being jailed 20 times, stabbed in the back and home his being bombed. He travelled overseas, made over 250 speeches and wrote dozens of articles. He was the youngest man to win the Prize of Nobel on December 10 1967. Martin Luther King has left me with many questions after his assassination in April 1968. After arriving at the hospital several hours later, he died. If he were alive and I were able to meet him somehow, I would ask him why he chose the position of leadership and chose to lead his people into freedom regardless of the pain and suffering dealt to him? That type of strong commitment confused me and left me speechless but inspired.
I believe a non-violent protest, as a way of bringing about change should be listened to because the people participating in the at protest feel their rights have been violated and are protesting in order to protect their own rights. In my life, the world inspires me to make a change and act upon my beliefs. The quote I stand by in life is SBS channel’s slogan, ‘seven billion stories and counting…’ I believe in this quote because it has guided me to do the right thing in life. It has also taught me that sometimes, I have to be hurt in order to save thousands of lives. Although I can be confused about why I am doing the right thing when I get hurt, I do it for the sake of other’s happiness.
Martin Luther King Essay
The history of this two great men dates back to the 1920s when both of them were born (Malcolm x -19th may 1925, King Luther-15th Jan 1929). Their fame, fulfillment of dreams and influence was however, felt in the 1960s. Although, brought up at different capacities their history and influence has lots of similarity. Their remarkable contribution was almost at the same period of time(between 1957-1968). This is such a time when there was a lot of radical debate on racism in America in terms of the rights of both the blacks and whites.
Such a debate was due to the different priorities given to the two races in America. For example the blacks were not allowed to vote thus, need for constitutional amendment which Martin King Luther advocated for(Howard pp 8). There was also an aspect of inequality in the sense that black American schools could not offer chances for career advancement and the blacks lacked proper hospital facilities as in the story of Malcolm X. He highlights in his bibliography that his desire to be a lawyer could not be achieved in the Negro school he attended thus killing his dream and determination to continue schooling.
The inequality is also seen in the reason for the boycott of the Montgomery bus system (where blacks were to seat at the back sits of the bus while front seats were reserved for the whites) organized by Martin King Luther (Luther’s bibliography). The two men spearheaded very critical campaigns on their different believes on the position of all the Americans in political, economical and social standards. Their approaches were quite different although they both had remarkable speeches and quotations pulling a large crowd of followers to themselves. Martin Luther King was born of a Baptist minister and his mother was a school teacher.
He attended school to a post graduate attaining a PhD in systematic theology in Boston. He later became a clergyman in the Baptist church. His early life before getting into politics was that of a preacher living upright according to the moral standards of the society. It is during his ministration work that he discovered that, though his faith talks of all men been equal, with same need for respect accorded to them; this was not so in America because the whites here were treated with a higher esteem than the blacks. He sort to dig deep into the history of the two races and thus, got the determination to fight for equality in the two races.
He also got some inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi of India who had led his country to independence from the British rule. It is from Gandhi that he adopted the idea of non violent protests. His approach was non violent though with different touch to various principles for example; he used the non partisan principle when he refused to en dose for any particular candidate in presidential run up. (Howard pp 57). It is through ecumenism that he brought people together in his civil movement activities. He also incorporated mass protest, mobilization of bus boycotts and enlightenment through speeches.
The boycotts lasted for 382 days leading to bombing of his house and his imprisonment. In prison he resorted into writing. He wrote letters and this advanced to five books namely: The measure of a man, Strength to love, Stride towards freedom, Trumpet of conscience and why we can’t wait. From jail Martin Luther King founded the Southern Christians Leaders Congress from which he could carry out his civil reform protest and the Student Non violent Coordinating Committee to help black students from violent protests but this was to no avail as the students turned his ideas down posing a great challenge to his campaigns.
He was received the Nobel peace price in 1964 as the youngest person to this award at an age of 35. His campaigns were successful because in 1965 the US congress passes a voting right act so that the blacks could now be allowed to vote. He also managed to prevent violent attacks by the blacks who had lost their children when their church was attacked by some whites through a great expressive and advisory e urology presented at the burial ceremony but it is his speech “I have a dream” that have accorded him more fame.
This speech was delivered at Washington DC where he had an audience of 250 000 people (Bennet pp64). Among his successes was the award of the man of the year as the first black to this title by the Time magazine of America. The civil right movement which he founded continued but pressure by the youth to engage in violent campaigns against discrimination led him to a new turn in his career and life yet again, where he now turned to protest against poverty and war.
He greatly complained against Vietnam war and in the process of organizing a march in protest of the problems that poor garbage collectors in Memphis, Tennessee were undergoing, he was assassinated. This was in April 1968. Although dead his great words are echoed to date. His works are also remembered by many as the man behind the civil rights and reforms in America. Malcolm X on the other side was a son to an outspoken Baptist minister who followed a Black Nationalist leader called Marcus Garvey. His mother was a house wife.
He went to school up to secondary level and later dropped as he could not see possibilities of achieving his dreams as a black. His father was found dead and the neighbors thought this was a plan by the whites to silence the blacks. This was quite early as Malcolm was only six and it led the family to poverty hence the mother got mental breakdown and was sent to an asylum for 26 years. (Lomax pp 12). Malcolm together with his brothers was taken to foster homes. This got him into petty crimes like gambling and burglary later moved to New York and advanced his criminal life to prostitution and sell of drugs.
He was later arrested during which he converted to Islam from the influence of his brother who used to visit him. This was demonstrated by change of his name from Malcolm little to Malcolm X, because he now believed Little was a slavery name. In prison he also joined some classes to continue with his schooling which he had stopped in earlier years this was a great boost to his later writings and speeches although he was not a professional in any particular field. When released from jail he was now a reformed man and so he joined the Nation of Islam and became one of the leaders.
Here he advocated for the teachings learn t from jail which included: a believe that evil men would face the wrath of Allah, blacks should get away from the lifestyle of the whites both in financial conditions, social integration, their structure of leadership, their way of thinking and in the art of worship. As a religious leader he built up mosques at Pennsylvania and Philadelphia where he had captured a massive following. There were some disagreements with the main leader of the Nation of Islam and Malcolm X; due to the statement he made following the assassination of President John F.
Kennedy (saw the assassination as a case of “the chicken coming home to roost”) and so was accorded a 90 day suspension with orders to remain silent without presenting any speeches. (Lomax pp 32). He found this slightly unbearable and although some people argue that he had some misunderstandings with the leader of Nation of Islam, over his conduct and moral uprightness, one thing was clear: it was time for Malcolm to call it quits. He then formed his own Muslim Mosque Inc. His idea of racial segregation was not to coexist peacefully with King Luther’s idea of constitutional amendment peaceful intermingled living.
He did not want any mixing of the blacks and whites at any degree so his solution was that; blacks have their own state even if through war. His followers were to use armed self defense against violence from the whites. He also criticized Christianity as a religion that copied the whites way of life thus due to poverty, the blacks ended up in crime in attempt to imitate this lifestyles. It is during this time that he went on pilgrimage to Mecca and got some inspiration from other cultures changing his focus from the black Muslims to all races and religions.
His ideology on all whites as bad people responsible for all the misery that the blacks faced was also changed and now considered the whites as individuals with personal opinions rather than stereotyping them to a bunch of ‘demons’. Claiming to have found the more and profound truths about Islam as a religion and lifestyle, Malcolm changed his name yet again to El Hajj El Shabazz. His mission was not left out in this wave of change as now he considered in cooperating all blacks despite their religion affiliation in his founded Organization of Afro-American Unity.
Its through this organization that he led the first ever greatest black American rally. Malcolm now set out to discussion with groups belonging to the whites and wanted to present the grievances of the black Americans in the US to UN. He also urged his followers to register in for voting process and sort for a change in the management of public facilities within the black communities from the whites who dominated every field of management and administration, to be done by the blacks.
His charismatic speeches and influence was mainly through media (he had a program covered on the television and in the radio and wrote articles to be published in the dailies). His debates seamed to be outrightly remarkable giving a very strong essence of what he believed in, thus captured very large number of audience. Malcolm X was assassinated in February1965 at New York as he was addressing a rally. He left a very significant contribution to black power movements as the Nation of Islam, the Muslim Mosque Inc and the Organization of Afro-American still went on in the believes he had taught them.
His believes got more momentum after his autobiography was published in 1965. (Howard pp116). The Malcolm X societies is a product of what he established. Similarities among this two men start from their birth to their death. This is because the blacks had equally similar lifestyles and opportunities as they were the marginalized group in America. Both of them were born in the same year and their impact was felt within the same period of time. They had equally same faith in their upbringing as their fathers were ministers in the Baptist church.
They had a first hand experience of the brutality of the whites as their homes were burnt, underwent imprisonment and finally were assassinated. The two men changed their names at one point of their lives (Martin’s name was changed while he was still young from his previous name: Michael to his current name: Martin). Their lives took different phases changing from school life to religious leaders to politics and finally to human right activist. The pulpit was used as a way to spread their beliefs and influence the community.
In both incidences, there was some inspiration from communities outside America which marked the start of a new phase of their lives. Both of them spoke strongly against racial discrimination. Their speeches and charisma has also lived long after their death and they all died through assassination in the 1960s. They equally had a large crowd of followers. Their writings are considered inspirational and great by both the black and white Americans. In the last phase of their lives and career, they had a great focus on poverty and empowerment of the blacks.
The differences between this two individuals is not much they basically had almost the same kind of background and they all fought for discrimination on the lines of race. Martin’s way of fighting was non violent but Malcolm’s way was by use of armed defense and rejecting cooperation to the whites ideas. The King got into his father’s line of career and maintained his religion while Malcolm diverted into Islam. Though both of them were charismatic and great speakers; Malcolm had a lower level of education.
Luther led a straight life all along but Malcolm was once involved in crime before his reform and conversion to Islam. King Luther’s tool of communication was mainly his pulpit, crusades and campaign meetings unlike Malcolm’s which involved the media. Martin Luther was accorded the international award of the Nobel Peace Price and the man of the year title in the times magazine while Malcolm only got recognition with no award except for the blacks having some societies named after him. Martin’s campaigns of non violent protests were met with criticisms from fellow blacks unlike Malcolm’s.
It is out of this two figures that others like Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Martin Luther King Junior, have found a base to stand on and fight against discrimination of whatever form. The world today remembers this two dear people as heroes (especially America). They made a remarkable spirit toward racial segregation which has continued up to today. Their stand as spiritual leaders on what they believed is an example to be followed by most leaders today who see lawfully practices and shun from condemning them.
Work Cited: Bennet Lerone Jn, “What manner of man: a biography of Martin Luther King” Chicago Johnson publishers (1964). pp 5-112 Brief History with Documents. ISBN 0312395051, 9780312395056; Bedford/SMartin’s 2004 Lomax Louise, “To kill a black man” Los Angels , CA:Hollooway House Publishing Company (1968) pp 12-86 ‘Man of the year’ Time 1983 (January 3, 1964). pp 13-16 ; 25-27. Pitney,Howard and David Martin Luther King , Malcolm X and the Civil Rights Struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. (1978) 8-122 Russel Adam, “Great Negroes Past and present”Chicago. Afro-american publishers. (1963)pp 64-246. Russel Adam, “Great Negroes Past and present”Chicago. Afro-american publishers. (1963)pp 64-246.It is normal for every person to have dreams about the future. Many people have their own personal dreams while others have dreams for the society. People also tend to have both positive and negative dreams, which they hold. A good leader is one who has positive dream about the people he leads. One of the famous people who have dreams that have to become true is Martin Luther king. This paper gives the analysis of Martin Luther king’s “I have a dream”. “I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther king is one of the most wonderful and best speeches that have been given in time immemorial.
It was in August 1963 when he moved America by this speech. The speech was full of soaring rhetoric, which demanded justice to be done to all races, and demanding for an integrated society where the black community was recognized. His words proved to be the touchstone in understanding the political and social upheavals that existed in the American society during that time. This gave the country a vocabulary to use when expressing the happenings of that moment. He had one very crucial message that all people regardless of their skin colour were created equally and so they should be treated the same.
However, he insisted that that was not the case in America at that moment but he was optimistic that this would happen in the future. He insisted that this would happen in the future in a very powerful and passionate way. His speech was well researched because in the preparation of this speech he studied the Bible, the address by Gettysburg and the declaration of the United States independence. He was able to incorporate all the research in his speech. Looking at his speech it can be described to be a political treatise, poetry, a well improvised and masterfully sermon full of Biblical imagery and language.
He used frequent repetition and alliteration in making his points to be clear. Looking at the first half of the speech it shows not an idealized dream of American. It shows a seething Nightmare of racial injustice by the Americans (Murray, 15-20). This is where the speech call for action by insisting that t was the right time for the racial injustices to end. His shows the urgency that is need to undertake the actions. He held that this was the right time to make the real promises of democracy.
This was the time for the American to come out of dark and desolate valley full of discrimination and start walking on the path of racial justice. He insisted that that was the right time to make all people have equal opportunities and start living in solid rock of brotherhood. He also encouraged people to make pledge that they would all walk together and never look backwards. He insisted that devotees of civil rights would never be satisfied until the moment when the black man in the American society would be free of horror brutality by the police.
He also insisted that they would never rest until when the quality of life of the Negroes had improved and given right to participate in the running of the country and understood the importance of their participation in the public affairs (Dyson, 51-53). In the second half of the speech, the speech depicts the dream of a better, integrated and a future that would be fairer in racial harmony. This is the part of the speech, which has the theme of “I have a dream. ” This phrase is repeated as a way of making his inspirational concepts be understood.
He encourages the people that despite of the frustrations and difficulties at that moment he had a dream that all this would end. He held that a day is coming when the country would live according to the true meaning of its creed (Dyson, 51-53). This is when all people from different social classes, for example, children of slaves and those of the slave owners would be able to live as brothers and sit down together. The society that would be full of freedom and justice for all people. This would be a society where people would not be judged by the colour of their skin but would be judged by what they have in their character.
He had a dream that the society would be transformed and the glory of the lord would be seem by everybody who would be living in that society (Murray, 15-20). The speech had a very strong message for the white community and hinted revolution. However, he used peaceful words and provided a vision for everybody. At the end of the speech, he had a passage aimed at unification of all people with a theme focusing around freedom. This is where he insisted that time was coming when all the people would sing one song of a sweet land of liberty. All people from all races, religious affiliations would be able to join hands and sing of a free state.
There are three factors, which made his speech to have a lot of impact. The remarkable emotion he used in terms of body and voice. The place at which the speech was given in the steps of the memorial of a US president defeated the slavery in the southern states. Another factor is the mood of the day where there was increased slavery among the black people and the time when the whites started feeling guilty of their actions. Work cited Dyson Michael. Debating race with Michael Eric Dyson, New York, Basic Civitas Books, 2007, pg 51- 53. Murray Julie. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 1st edition, New York, ABDO Group, 2005, pg 15-20.