Essay on Civil Rights Movement MLK
This essay was prepared for ACAD-1601, taught by Professor McMaster.
Revolutions are a major part of history all over the world. They have contributed to changes in the world and have allowed society to advance into the future. I agree that revolutions have impacted society as a whole. Martin Luther King Jr, helped change the view of Civil Rights movements by using nonviolent protest methods and speeches to get his message across to society. The purpose of this essay is to explain the struggle, its result and analyze in detail the use of nonviolent methods in the Civil Rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr.
Using nonviolent movements and revolutions is important and still used in present day. In the book, “Blueprint for Revolution” author and Serbian activist Srdja Popovic discuses and uses a variety of different nonviolent techniques to aid in protesting. Popovic used nonviolent techniques himself, which he found successful in helping him dethrone Serbia’s former President Slobodan Milosevic. This was possible as Popovic created a student organized group of individuals called Otpor! In the chapter “It Can Never Happen Here” of Popovic’s book he states, “some things can’t be imported and a vision for your own society’s future is one of them. Only you can create that. My role and the role of my colleagues is simply to tell aspiring nonviolent activists what has worked for us in Otpor!” (Blueprint for Revolution, 2015, p. 25). Otpor, the student activist group helps individuals around the world who are seeking for alterations in their government, but don’t know where to begin and have no hope that nonviolent protests will be effective in their country. The idea of using nonviolent methods were found successful for both Popovic and Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr had a vision for the black community and helped spread his story of using nonviolent methods to be successful just like Popovic did. Also, in the chapter “The Demons of Violence” in Popovic’s book he states, “Which leads me to the second… reason for nonviolence’s high rate of success. If you have machine guns and tanks on one side and tens of thousands of people marching with flags, signs and flowers on the other, there can be very little confusion as who’s the beauty and brute. Martin Luther King Jr understood this principle well” (2015, p. 205). Martin Luther King Jr used nonviolent methods like speeches, protests and letters worldwide to help change the inequality, racism and segregation of the black community in America, which was found to be successful.Without Martin Luther King Jr implementing different strategies to change society and the laws, the future of black communities in America, would not be in the same place as it is today.
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Martin Luther King Jr is most commonly known for his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech in Alabama, that caught the attention of people worldwide. In April of 1963, Martin Luther King Jr was arrested and placed in jail for leading a protest and march in Birmingham, Alabama. Fortunately, his efforts to get his message across did not end while he was imprisoned. While he was in jail, Martin Luther King Jr wrote one of the most widely known Civil Rights documents, which enforced nonviolent methods, to resolve the issue of inequality and racism of the black community. This document is known as the, “Letter From Birmingham Jail”. In this letter he discusses unjust laws and segregation, he continues by saying that individuals need to do something about these bad situations and not wait for somebody else to make a change. In the letter Martin Luther King Jr also breaks down nonviolent protest in four steps, stating, “in any nonviolence campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustice exists; negotiation, self-purification and direct action” (Letter from Birmingham Jail, 1963). By King stating this he is advising individuals looking to correct injustices to identify if it truly is an injustice. This is salient because if the situation isn’t injustice, it can create an issue out of a non-existence problem. Negotiation is the next step King presented. Negotiation is important because negotiating with with the side of authority can create a positive amount of progress and change that both parties benefit from and agree to. The people in power are usually, lawmakers therefore trying to negotiate identifies that the individuals is not trying to come from a place of hatred and fear but from a place of justice. Furthermore, if negotiation is ineffective, it is salient to follow the next step King described as self purification. This step is very important and crucial to make sure that anger and hatred is not taking over one’s mind, soul and body. As if hatred consumes the individual it increases the chances for individuals become violent which in the end increases the likelihood of violent actions and war. The last step of King’s nonviolent protest is Direct Action. Direct action is important as sometimes this step can lead individuals to chaos, destruction and failure. Having said this, it does not resolve the issue and in the few cases were violence was found effective it would lead to war and deaths not protest. The way King used direct action was by writing letters, performing speeches and providing knowledge to people. Using these different methods were found to be successful for King Jr. But there are also a variety of different ways that people can fight an issue against a system they do not agree with. For example, spreading knowledge to others who lack knowledge is important as it helps people get a better understanding of the situation which ends up diminishing injustice. Another example is Silent strikes. In the letter, King Jr also states, “we will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands” (Letter from Birmingham Jail, 1963). King Jr identifies a more religious view, this is principal because back in the day the church was the main support for black communities. Values were taught in churches and helped the black community deal with situations and crisis like the Jim Crow time, where black individuals were dealing with racism and segregation. King Jr goes on to elaborate that fighting for equal right between whites and blacks is a right by God. And that by the black community doing this, they will be compensated by God with freedom. This “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was viewed and heard worldwide. Martin Luther King Jr displayed intelligence as he used his voice while being imprisoned to display a message to impact the community in a positive way. Till today the Civil Rights movement that King Jr took part in shows not disobedience but authority in making a change and justice in society.
On December 11th 1964, Martin Luther King Jr gave a speech as he received a Nobel Peace Prize. In this speech he spoke about how change will happen in society and happen faster by using nonviolent methods, not by violence and bloodshed. King speaks about injustice affecting the community. King talks about how if individuals feel there is injustice, it is important to not keep in feelings and emotions inside, but to inform the public without being violent. King Jr states in the speech, “Nonviolence has also meant that my people in agonizing struggles of recent years have taken suffering upon themselves instead of inflicting it on others… meant that we do not want to instill fear in others or in to the society of which we are a part” (Nobel Speech, 1964). Furthermore, he elaborates on how if people take out their anger and pain on others, there will be no progress in society and will also give a reason for white individuals to not like the black community. Instead King Jr motivates them to deal with their anger and pain through nonviolence action and to not destroy the society.As the black community essentially wants to be equal in the American society. Furthermore, the goal is equality and integration of both races, not segregation and violence.
Martin Luther King Jr’s ability to make a change for the black community; sparked interest to people all over the world. In this academic journal, “Welcome and Session I: Overview of Martin Luther King ‘s Career” the authors discuss the impact of Martin Luther King Jr’s nonviolence direct action regarding Law. Morris states, “nonviolent direct action challenged lawyers trained to keep people out of jail rather than defending those who openly defied laws, landing them in jail” (2016, p. 630). This discusses the use of King Jr’s teaching of nonviolent direct action, which lawyers are implementing into their practice. This shows how impactful and important Martin Luther King Jr’s message was, as it is being used for lawyers to be successful in helping others. Additionally, in the academic journal “The Leadership Principles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Their Relevance to Surgery” it talks about how King Jr’s speeches, letter were mainly surrounded around the Declaration of Independence, Christian values and most importantly leadership. In this journal it also discusses King Jr’s leadership is something astounding that the surgeons in this journal, are trying to use to train the future surgeons in practice. It is mentioned in this journal that, “King set forth a powerful vision that all people were created equal and by applying the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence, he was able to guide a nation to fulfilling its promise set forth in the Declaration of Independence by resolving one… conflict after another against all odds” (Brunicardi et al, 2007, p. 8). In addition, the authors elaborate on how effective King’s vision for the black community, his ability to learn and communication helped him handle the situation of racial injustice. Also, discussing how King Jr used doctrines like the Bible and Declaration of Independence. Having King use these scared doctrines was brilliant. He used these documents that society as a whole knew and understood, to elaborate his views to the public. Gandhi’s peaceful protest was also mentioned in comparison to Martin Luther King Jr, as both nonviolent protests ended up success. Both protests impacted the community in a positive way by using peace and knowledge instead of hatred, violence and anger.
Revolutions have changed the world as a whole and have had both negative and positive effects. Nonviolent methods of protesting like the famous Civil Right activist Martin Luther King Jr, were found effective and successful. Martin Luther King Jr had a major impact on society and laws of the country of America in the 1960’s. King Jr’s influence, leadership and courage had an impactful effect on the African American community and brought equality to the nation. Therefore, diminishing inequality, segregation and racism in America. This essay identified the strugle, its results, analyzed in detail the use of nonviolent methods in the Civil Rights movement, directed by activist Martin Luther King Jr.
Brunicardi, F., Cotton, R. T., Cole, G. W., & Martinez, G. (2007). The Leadership Principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and their Relevance to Surgery. Journal of the National Medical Association. Retrieved from HYPERLINK "https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov-roxy.nipissingu.ca/" https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov-roxy.nipissingu.ca/
King., M. L. (n.d.). Letter from Birmingham Jail. Retrieved from HYPERLINK "https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/" https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/
Popovic, S. (2015). Blueprint for revolution: How to use rice pudding, Lego men, and other nonviolent techniques to galvanize communities, overthrow dictators, or simply change the world. New York: Spiegel & Grau.
Seymour, K., Rubinowitz, L., & Morris, A. (2016). Welcome and Session I: Overview of Martin Luther King’s Career. Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy. Retrieved from HYPERLINK "https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1138&conte" https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1138&context=njlsp
The Nobel Peace Prize 1964. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/ 1964/king/lecture/