Free «Martin Luther King» Essay Sample

African-Americans have succeeded to end segregation, discrimination, and isolation through sincere efforts that are done by activists, such as Marin Luther King, and other organizations.The spread of extremist and hate groups that look inferiorly at black people was an embodiment of the atmosphere of racism in the United States. The second half of the twentieth century witnessed a rising trend of racism between white and black Americans. The blacks were indirectly deprived from their rights to attain high position in the government. Also, private businesses used to discriminate against the black, based just on the color of their skin and their ethnic origin. Consequently, various anti-racism movements emerged in order to end this trend of racism against blacks in the United States. Martin Luther King was one of the most famous black activists, who paid his life for the sake of ending racism in the United States. The echo of his famous word ”I have a dream” still persists in the ears of activists and anti-racists, in an attempt to make this “dream” come true. King himself was subjected to sever cases of racism and violence, as "during the 1960s, Martin Luther King Jr. was jailed, beaten, and eventually killed for his leadership in the civil-rights movement" ("Battling Racism: ….").

In the United States, the year 1963 witnessed a major civil rights mobility with the efforts done by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in the field of fighting racial segregation. King, president of SCLC, is now inspiring civil rights movements all over the United States to resist the social, economic, and political practices that involve racial discrimination and segregation against African Americans. One of the most successful campaigns in this field is the Birmingham campaign, which has witnessed strategic effort that is exerted by King and his SCLC for the sake of promoting civil rights for African Americans. This campaign, which is based in Birmingham, Alabama, lasted for more than two months in the spring of 1963, aiming "at ending the city's segregated civil and discriminatory economic policies" (Garrow, 1981). In fact, the effective tactics, strategies, and philosophies followed by King and his organization have played major roles in fulfilling the goals of the campaign in Birmingham, Alabama.

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The first and most significant aspect of King and his civil rights movement is the adoption of non-violent approaches to reach the goal of ending racial segregation in the United States. This tactic was particularly evident in the Birmingham campaign, where King and his African American followers organized non-violent gatherings, marches, and boycotts in order to push the city officials to review the civil laws that are considered by King and his movement unfair. King stressed the resort to non-violent approaches in Birmingham, when he declares that "the purpose of... direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation"(Garrow, 1981). Thus, it can be said that King, and his philosophy of nonviolence, was the dominant force in his civil rights movement that achieved great success in Birmingham.

In employing the tactic of non-violent resistance against the practices of segregation, King was a strong believer in the power of non-violent approaches to attain legal demands of equality and abundance of racial segregation. In this context, King was inspired by the character of Gandhi in India, who was a strong advocate of the policy of non-resistance. Witnessing the success of Gandhi and his movement in reaching their goals in India, King believed that he also can succeed in forcing his government to abolish segregation laws. Thus, the core reason behind the success of Birmingham campaign was the sincere belief in non-violence, as approached by Gandhi. In particular, King was fond of the approach followed by Mahatma Gandhi, who "slowly, firmly, patiently, changed India and changed the world" (Shaw, 2004). Through this non-violent approach, Gandhi succeeded in ending the British occupation in India using just peaceful resistance means, and so, King followed the same approach, leading to the great success of the Birmingham campaigns to end civil laws that endorse racial segregation. As explained by Frederic Brussat, a famous political analyst, Gandhi's success "lies in his courage and capacity to unite all Indians under one goal," and similarly, King's success in Birmingham is reflected in his ability to unite all African-Americans under one goal, which is to fight racial segregation (Brussat, 2003). Thus, the fact that King himself was inspired by another great leader, enabled him to inspire many other Americans and to adopt his policy of non-violence.

Another important tactic that is followed by King and his organization in Birmingham is the design of prepared and organized steps to gradually attain the goal of ending racial segregation laws. The first step followed by King and his followers was a comprehensive boycott that aimed at pressuring all kinds of businesses to make their job opportunities available for people from all races, not for whites only (Shaw, 2004). The protesters also boycotted all sales stores that have segregated facilities in their stores. However, the protesters soon escalated their approach and went to the second step, when they found that businesses were able to resist the boycott. This second step consisted of a set of marches and peaceful demonstrations, in which adults as well as children participated (Brussat, 2003). These peaceful marches and demonstrations achieved great results for King and his movement, as the head of the Birmingham Police Department was fired from his job, because of the extreme violence used against the protesters. Consequently, King and his movement succeeded in achieving most of the goal they wanted, as "the 'Jim Crow' signs in Birmingham came down, and public places became more open to blacks" (Le Blanc, 2011). Thus, it can be said that King's tactic of organized and gradual steps of peaceful resistance was extremely effective in forcing Birmingham authorities to end their segregation practices.


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