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Martin Luther King.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Chapter II Martin Luther King In 1940s, the Civil Rights Movement appeared as a challenge to end up racial discrimination and segregation as a system that tended to separate blacks from all aspects of life. Though granted their freedom, blacks were still treated as some subordinate species to the white race: they were denied the chance to be promoted in their jobs and most of them suffered from a low income compared with white workers. Blacks had to live in separate neighborhoods under appalling conditions and were "confined to the central city and notably dirty and unpaved slums".1 Martin Luther King (1929-1968) was born in Atlanta Georgia to grow up and become one of the greatest heroes of American history. As a boy, Martin was always taught to respect people and to settle disagreements with love, not hate. Martin's best friend was a white boy whose mother did not allow him to play any longer with Martin who was so astonished and bewildered that he ran to his mother and asked for an explanation. His mother told him that this was because he was black. He became very upset and could not understand how the color of someone's skin could make all the difference. Martin's mother laid him in her lap and said" you must never feel that you are less than anybody else. You must always feel that you are somebody"2. From that time on, Martin never forgot what his mother had told him and grew up determined that he would make the difference. Indeed, Martin Luther King became one of the principle leaders of Civil Rights Movement and the symbol of nonviolent protest in the struggle for racial justice (exemplified in the boycotts and sit-ins that he organized). King's view towards racism symbolized the voice of a generation and of a human being who saw in slavery an end to man's humanity: 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 a reality. ...read more.

Middle

King called that "the madness must cease"; war is not the answer to solving man's problems because violence breeds violence and destruction: Through violence, you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence, you murder the hater, but you don't murder the hate...Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to the night...Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. In his book Stride towards Freedom, King explained how Christian love and peaceful tactics were the motto of the civil rights movement. Nonviolent tactics, he believed was a moral necessity that helped man establish a sense of the self and to help defeat the white ego by making him feel ashamed of all his misdoings and mistreatment of a fellow human being. Though King urged his people to advocate passive resistance, he abhorred "silence" and called all the nations to awaken from their deep slumber and march on to struggle for a new world, a new reality that would establish man's identity as a fully blooded human being who is endowed with due respect and dignity. Martin believed that it is high time that people should open up their eyes and see the world around them, the world that promised them freedom and equality but gave them nothing but pain and misery. He called all the citizens of America to wipe away their tears and to start believing that "tomorrow is another day" not another yesterday. King demanded that all the blacks and the suppressed break the shackles of silence and raise their voices so that they can be heard calling for their legitimate rights: We must move on...but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart...17 King's message of breaking the silence through peaceful protests was carried out by almost all negroes all over America. ...read more.

Conclusion

The prize was the motive, he continued, that inspired millions of people and incited them to work harder determined to make the dream- the American dream- come true. On April 3, 1986, he travelled to Memphis and delivered his last speech in which, it seemed, he predicted his own end: I have seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. And I am happy...Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968. His death did not mean the end: King lit up the candle for the coming generations who were handed over the torch to continue their struggle against racism and discrimination. It was their fight now: King had died, but he did not leave them stumbling in a vacuum; they were well prepared for the next battle because King had taught them how "to destroy the barries of fear and insecurity that had been hundreds of years in the making". He had taught them how to endure the bitter maltreatment of the white race with smiling faces that challenged the white ego and exposed his brutality and savagery. King had showed his people the way and they had followed his lead because they knew he was the one- the chosen one who is going to take them through "thousands midnights...dreary with low- hovering clouds" into the light of the morning...the new morning of salvation and freedom. Even now whenever you pass by his grave, there you will see an inscription on his tombstone: "Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty I am free at last..." We may not win tomorrow... but we won't quit, we won't give up...sure we have not realized all our ambitions; certainly we have a long way to go. But the important thing is that we were on the way. ...read more.

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