Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King was born in Atlanta Georgia in 1929. He grew up in a Christian family whose main value was the church. His parents and grandfather were church leaders. However, the family also took part in the civil rights movement that King Junior emulated. Martin Luther, being from good family background, was able to study high up to the college. After joining the college, he wanted to study medicine and law, but he changed his mind afterward and became a devoted member of the Baptist church where his father and the grandfather were preachers. He also wanted to be a preacher, which became the next goal he wanted to achieve. Therefore, in order for him to be a church leader, he had to go to the seminary and study theology. He joined the Pennsylvania seminary college. When he was at the seminary, he came to know about the non-violent actions and the strategies that Dr. Gandhi used towards the British government in India.
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The civil rights movements were organizations formed with the aim of agitating for equal rights in the United States. The movements exponentially grew; later, their influence was felt across the world. In the United States, the most successful civil rights movement was a non-violent organization headed by Luther King. The main aim of its formation was to fight against racism and discrimination mainly experienced by Africans and other minorities in the US (Bennett 57). Luther borrowed heavily from Gandhi’s principle of non-violent protest. He managed to launch a vibrant movement by incorporating the philosophy of non-violent protest (Hall and Martinez). Martin Luther’s views, beliefs, and non-violent actions were not different from John Lewis’ views. They had views and beliefs that were geared towards attaining equality through non-violent means. They both embraced the virtue of non-violence (Reddick 61). This philosophy states that every way of hostility, conflict, and murder does not justify the quest for equality.
King stirred the civil rights movement because of the humiliation and discrimination that the Africans and other minorities face in America. He infused this with ethics and rational reason. He emphasized God’s principles of love of the enemy. This guided him in advocating for the principle of non-violence in the quest for justice and equality. He wanted to ridicule the wrong behavior and other indecent actions in society. His movement adopted boycotts, demonstrations, and sit-ins without hostility. He tried to incorporate those who could not co-operate in the demonstration. In his words and actions, he emphasized the need to embrace peace and condemned violent behavior (Jakoubek and Wagner). He insisted that people should embrace love and not hatred. In his writings and actions, he explained the association linking Gandhi and non-violent direct action and he tried to demonstrate how one could achieve his quest without using violence. Luther’s believes were not different from those of John Lewis. Lewes advocated for the use of dialogue and peace in the quest for justice.
This was the Civil Disobedience, which was the most common social protest. Civil Disobedience means that people just fail to comply with the government, especially the ones that were unjust to the blacks. That is passive resistance. Luther King was able to help the Indians from the British government, using the method of non-violent action. His main aim in life was fighting for truth and justice. The methods he employed included direct social action, which consisted of courage and passive and reality principles. Gandhi started to test the new method of non-violent action. Through many campaigns fighting for Indian rights in South Africa, he promoted civil disobedience movement and ordered a strike with Indian miners. Gandhi recommended a five-point plan to defeat this opposition. He advised his fellow citizens to be constantly truthful, be hygienic, not to remember the religious differences that they had, have an association, makes the authority aware of what they were going through, and learn English. The King did not like the way the African students were handled at the college. Thus, he became the students’ leader in the fight for the rights, and then he extended the same to the Civil Rights Movement when he was a leader. The readings of Tolstoy and the encouragement from Gandhi helped the King to copy and apply the same non-violent tactics in his Civil Rights Movement.
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Rustin was his main advisor and mentor who encouraged him to stick to the principles of non-violence as an activist. He learned that violence could not pay back through fighting because that would only lead to physical struggle instead of torture. He also knew that physical actions would eventually alert the mind of the opponent and others who bore the effects indirectly and gave rise to hatred, fear, anger, and rejection instead of looking for a lasting solution. Through Gandhi, he was able to learn that in the rise of any conflict all the good values of self-control and humanism that an individual had as a result of civilization were usually ignored and forgotten. All the good behavior that came up because of self-control and humanity is usually ignored too because the only goal here is to see victory. Moreover, in the final fight, one party must always be a winner. Therefore, physical violence is not good and does not give a permanent solution.
He found some interest in these strategies and he knew what would better if used in the Civil Rights Movement. After college, he became the clergyman, an advocate, and a leader of the African-American Civil Rights movement. He played a great role in the movement where he applied the tactics of non-violent civil disobedience. He served for some time as a minister in the Baptist church. Then, he became an advocate in the Civil Rights movement where he applied the non-violent action to fight for the blacks who went through humiliation in the United States of America. The main rationale behind the formation of the civil rights movement was to fight against issues that affected the blacks, some of these including religious conflict, working environment, lack of voting rights, and racial discrimination.
He became the founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957. The young King was a great minister who also became the leader of the Montgomery Improvement Association that practiced boycott tactics to win the civil rights, which made King the hero of the nation. He was also very eloquent in his speeches that really attracted the Christians and through this, he was able to preach and emphasize the brotherhood. This encouraged most people in and out of the South. When at the church, he emphasized the Ten Commandments, which touched the love for self and the neighbor. He taught people to love their enemies and not to fight them, through such teachings he was able to apply the non-violent actions.
King became a part of non-violent protest because his family background was generally religious and fighting could not be an option. He knew that any action that involved violence was not right. In his speeches, he said that violence was not the right strategy to gain racial rights, but it was non-ethical and impractical since it only led to destruction and non-ethical behavior because it encouraged humiliation to the enemy instead of trying to win his psychology. He emphasized that for any good action to be successful, an individual should not try to eradicate the enemy, but to change the mind of the opponent. He said that violence could only encourage hatred and not love. He also took part in the non-violent rights movement because he knew that he would win the sympathy from society. He felt that if the people in the society could see what the nonrace went through, then they could eventually sympathize with them and even join to fight the government against discrimination.
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King never liked the actions of violence of other people like George Wallace, he expressed this in the speech ‘I have a dream’. This shows how he did not like George’s advice on violence for achieving the rights of the African Americans who tried to destroy the civil rights movement. The two had different perspectives. King thought that an organized, non-violent protest against the government could attract wide media coverage to encourage unity and voting rights for the blacks. Through this, the news reporters were able to write articles reports and aired them on the television about the way the people suffered, the way they went through discrimination and humiliation through violence and harassment. The civil rights movement workers together with demonstrations attracted the public views, which influenced most of the Americans to accept that the Civil Rights Movement was indeed the most essential thing in the whole American politics (Carson 35).
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Through his leading in the marches, he wanted the Africans to get voting rights, to discourage disintegration, the rights to labor, and many more basic rights. Many of the rights went through successfully and were a part of the Constitution of the United States through the acceptance of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act. This was the biggest achievement that King was able to achieve and it made him a national and worldwide hero (Dyson 137)
The Civil Rights Movement was among the African Movements that were formed to fight against the racial discrimination that the black people went through in America. They also wanted to have the right to vote. He became the leader of the movement. This movement was entirely based on demonstrations that involved non-violent actions and the civil disobedience that existed between the activists of the movement and the government (Carson 84). This called for the interventions of the businesses and the federal and the local government to deal with the situation. The demonstration involved the boycotts, like the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 in Alabama, and they also had sit-ins, for example, Greensboro sit-ins that went on in Carolina. Then finally, there were demonstrations through marches like Selma all through Montgomery marches of 1965 in Alabama and many other protests that were non-violent. Through this, the activists of the movement made a great achievement of restoration of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, which had earlier been abolished. It included issues of color, belief system, race, and citizenship that affected their employment, residential places, and voting rights. All these rights were restored and people were able to vote freely. The people got involved in politics again and encouraged the youths to act (Carson 142).
Apart from being the leader of the rights movement, he was the head of the boycotts in Alabama where he appointed the Africans to work. He was then detained because of being the head founder of the boycott and was given a fine of 500 dollars, though the Montgomery and the buses were already involved in the boycott. Being in prison is when he was inspired to write The ‘Letter from Birmingham’ as a response to the movement to persuade to start a social change. He claimed that the issue of racism was a matter of life and death. He as well showed his disappointment of the Whites with a sensible mind together with the way the church leaders were too rigid to oppose the unfair system of government. ‘Stride Towards Freedom’ was read by the learners in Greensboro and north California where they practiced the sit-ins of lunch counters that had the rule to refuse to serve the African-Americans (Rieder 43). The riders in the discrimination of transport emulated this action to the disunity of transport. During the initial and successive Freedom Rides, protesters went through the Deep South to mix seating patterns and unite the bus terminals together with the restrooms and water sources. That appeared to be a dangerous undertaking. In Anniston, Alabama, one of these buses was bombed, making its travelers run for their safety (Ansbro 196).
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When King came back to the country, he gave many speeches and persuaded many people to take part in the civil rights movement. Having known that the Africans had the economic potential, he tried to encourage people to make use of the companies and personal shops that showed sympathy and to get involved in the campaigns and boycott. He also emphasized the power of the vote. Many people still went through difficulties in registration since they were restricted from registering and voting for their own people. This was a great humiliation among the Africans. Many people placed a proposal against this, for example, Kennedy came up with the Civil rights bill, which was to fight this humiliation. Marches also played an important role in the movement, especially the march that was to fight for jobs and freedom (Shaywitz).
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This motivated many people, which involved King who then gave a speech on ‘I have a dream’. This went far all over the globe, hence making him a legend of the nation. Through the speech, many civil movements went popular and Kennedy’s bill finally went through with the help of the Congress. Initially, these marches were like events to demonstrate the distressed nature of the Africans in the South of the United States and a way to convey the activists’ worry and plight to the government. The main intention of the leaders was to criticize the federal government unable to defend the Civil rights and security of the workers and the Africans. However, they complied with the force and influence of the president and went down in the event. Consequently, the activists felt the way the president demanded was not right. Hence, Malcolm termed this as Farce on Washington. It was when King gave his speech on ‘I have a dream’ (Ansbro 97).
Luther King was then able to come up with the bill that would assure the Africans had the right to vote, hence forming The Voting Rights Act. He then got so much attached to the poor life of the Africans living in America that he addressed the issue in his speeches emphasizing the revolution and expressing his discouragement of the Vietnam War. He further got involved in the grievances of the trade unions (Selby 73). King affirmed in “Beyond Vietnam” that true love was better than giving beggar money. He added that a house that gave rise to beggars should be rebuilt. He repeated the words of the official who stated that from Vietnam to Latin America the nation was on the wrong part of a global rebellion and King disputed America’s allies with many Latin Americans inhabitants. He emphasized that the Americans ought to help the needy persons from the developing nations rather than restrain their efforts to rebel. In 1967, Martin Luther King talked at an anti-war manifestation where he came up with the idea of civil rights (Fandel).
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King died as a hero, and his legacy is still a remembrance today as his speeches and quotes are read and studied. The greatest achievement was when he managed to safeguard the progress on civil rights in the United States; this was some days before his death when the Civil Rights Act went through. The others were Fare Housing Act, Prohibited Discrimination Act in the residential places, while other related issues were freedom of religion, race, and nationality (Selby 24). This effort was because of King’s struggle, which was an honor in the rest of the world. He received many noble prizes for his great achievements. The King’s legacy is still an honor to the whole world; this was because of his influence on the Black Consciousness Movement and his leadership and actions in the Civil Rights Movement in South Africa. This is an inspiration for most leaders both in Africa and internationally. Moreover, his wife was highly inspired by his leadership, which she also emulated and applied until her death. He died on April 4, 1968, when he was murdered. This was a great shock to many nations and they started war for justice to prevail on the King’s death. James Early was the suspect in the King’s murder and went to prison for 99 years (Ansbro 86).