If it weren't for Martin Luther King, Jr., where would America be today? Would we still be forced to attend segregated schools, separated from other teenagers just because they have a different skin color, religion or culture. Martin Luther King, thankfully, changed all of that. His non-violent protests were an essential in the fight against racism and segregation. His powerful speeches shed new light on the situation and opened the eyes of many government officials, including the Congress, who outlawed dejure segregation in America.
Martin Luther King, most likely, had many reasons for non-violent protests. One of these reasons was being brought up in a religious family, and being taught that violence was wrong. In one of his speeches, Martin Luther King said, "Violence, as a way of achieving racial justice, is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love." Another reason that Martin Luther King, Jr. participated in, and encouraged non-violent protests was to make the public feel pity. If the public saw the way that African Americans were treated during protests where they used absolutely no violence, they would surely feel sorry for them. African Americans, among other things, have been beaten, fired upon, and were pushed back when the authorities used a fire hose against them. Seeing this in a movie and in the news, we felt pity and those who saw the African Americans abused on television in the fifties and sixties, most likely, felt pity as well.
Martin Luther King, Jr. obviously felt that racism was wrong, on the parts of both whites and blacks, otherwise he would not have so passionately opposed it. Racism led to segregation, and segregation was not fair to anyone. King and his followers believed that all men were created equal, therefore should be treated equally. Martin Luther King once said, "I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."
His thoughts on George Wallace were expressed in his "I Have a Dream" speech. "I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers." Martin Luther King was not fond of George Wallace because he encouraged violence toward civil rights activists and he attempted to do away with the civil rights movement. He and King showed directly opposite views, as Wallace was extremely racist and believed that segregation was morally correct. He sought to place himself and the citizens of Alabama in a position which would make enactment of federal civil rights laws difficult, if not impossible, for King and his followers. Thankfully, he failed, and before he died, changed his views on racism and apologized for his actions.
In conclusion, Martin Luther King, Jr., who, after his death, came to represent black courage and achievement, had very strong opinions, most of which he shared with the world and made an unfathomable difference. He represented the ability of Americans to address and overcome racial divisions. He was one of the greatest civil rights leaders that ever lived and once said, "A man who won't die for something is a man who is not fit to live." Martin Luther King, Jr. did die for something and, wherever he is, we hope that he knows he made a tremendous difference in this country, which was almost torn apart by racism, violence and hate.
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