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Martin Luther King
Transcript of Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King saw how badly black people were treated and during the 1950s he became involved in the Civil Rights movement. In 1955 a black woman, Rosa Parks, was arrested because she didn’t give up her seat to a white person on a bus. This incident made many blacks angry .They protested and decided to boycott the city’s buses. Martin Luther King became the president of this boycott.
Martin Luther King's Legacy
Malcolm X was a important figure in the Civil Rights Movement. However, he opposed MLK's belief of equality - and instead believed that segregation was the answer (blacks and whites should live apart). However, he was very biased and referred to black people as "devils". He committed many crimes as a young man (dealing, burglary, pimping - resulted in 10 year sentence) - and had a reputation of being angry and bitter. This is probably a result of his poverty-stricken upbringing - he was brought up by white foster parents (who didn't support his Muslim faith), then soon dropped out of school.
Nevertheless, Malcolm X's views and actions changed in later life. He believed in non-violence after meeting MLK properly and visiting other Muslims. This suggests MLK influenced even those who opposed him, and faith can affect all beliefs.
Current Issues and Resolutions
Martin Luther King
His Life & Legacy
1960 - 1968
After graduating from Morehouse College in 1948, King enrolls in Boston University. After meeting music student Coretta Scott, the two get married in 1953, and eventually have four children.
Eager to support his family, Martin becomes a Baptist in a church in Alabama. This shows he puts others before himself, a quality which Martin will use abundantly in later life.
Civil Rights Movement
In 1960, Martin left being a baptist to help Civil Rights Movement. Many say this was purely because of the unfair treatment of black people, while others say that King had one main motive: for peace among men and woman of all races. He soon propelled into a leadership position due to his charisma and speech-making gifts. In addition, his Ghandi-like message of non-violence was a perfect ambition for the Civil Rights movement of the 1960′s.
Martin led many marches, resulting in him being put into jail 3 times between 1960 and 1961. Many terrible things happened as a result of the protests, such as a freedom march in Selma, 1965 - where over 60 people were injured by tear-gas grenades, clubs and whips. Yet even when Martin's family home was bombed - he never gave up and never fought back violently. Finally, in 1965 - the Voting Rights Act was passed.
Although Martin was rewarded with the Noble Peace Prize in 1964 - he donated all the prize money to Civil Rights Movements.
Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4th, 1968. He was shot by a single sniper's bullet on his balcony. There were massive riots that followed, and although a suspect (James Earl Ray) was arrested - many (including King's family) believed he was innocent.
Yet even though King no longer is alive, his legacy continues even to this day - and will do for many more.
Birth & Childhood
Martin was born into a wealthy family in 1929, Atlanta. His parents (a minister and a teacher) had strong anti-racial beliefs - which could have influenced Martin's actions in later life. Additionally, the fact that his father was strongly religious suggests that Martin's Christian beliefs and inspirations were originally determined by his early life.
In 1944, Martin graduates high school at the age of 15. He then attends Morehouse College in the hope of following his father's footsteps and becoming a church minister. This implies that Martin shares his family's Christian beliefs and values, and regards them so highly he intended to devoted his life to it's teachings.
While attending Morehouse College, King forms a strong relationship with his headteacher (Mr Mays - a former church minister) - while being noticed for his kindness and selflessness. This means that Martin related his acts of kindness (and their rewards) with Christian teachings.
How it influenced MLK
This parable influenced Martin Luther King because he could relate to it. For example, black people were seen as poisoned and sinned - very similar to how the paralyzed man was treated (people thought being paralyzed was a punishment from God). Nevertheless, Martin knew differently - and in theory his speeches told his people to walk (like Jesus said). Metaphorically, walking means believing in yourself and what you believe in.
The Paralyzed Man
In my opinion Martin was a person who had the strength to speak in front of the people who thought him a useless man, yet he was brave and determined enough to show that being of a different colour didn't make him different. He was a strong-minded man that could overcome being discriminated and made a difference to many people - which is an amazing gift to have. I believe in everything he did, one because racism should be non-existent; and two because Martin gave the push to make the world that way.
The Good Samaritan
What this taught MLK
The parable of the Good Samaritan taught MLK the meaning of "Love your enemies" - since Samaritans and Jews were enemies at that time (ie, blacks and whites). In addition, MLK's last speech in Memphis referenced to the Good Samaritan, and King stated that the Levite and the priest only thought: "If I help this man, what will happen to ME? Will I be beaten up? Will I be robbed?". Instead, MLK stated that they should have reversed the question: "If I don't help this man, what will happen to HIM?". King's message wasn't just purely based on selflessness, but on the fact that no religion, race or skin colour can define you and your decisions - and that you should always "love you enemy", and only protest non-violently.
King's vision was deeply rooted in racial justice and Christian heritage. It was the Bible that led him to choose the way of love and non-violent protest over hatred, despair and violence. King often pointed out that it was Jesus who inspired the action of the civil rights movement. His notion of non-violent protest – borne by civil rights activists who endured persecution and police brutality – came from his Christian faith in the suffering of Jesus. Another example of Christian influence is his famous "I have a dream" speech - when it reaches its highest point with echoes of the prophet Isaiah: "I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low ... and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together."
As well as this, I also know that King's upbringing will have influenced his faith largely as well, since King's commitment to the Bible as his primary source book was nourished in his childhood when Bible stories were told around the dinner table. Those stories sustained him until the end of his life.
Another speech reference was what was to be his last speech, where King drew from the biblical story of Moses: "Like anybody, I would like to live a long life ... But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain, and I've looked over, and I've 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." The "promise land" is Heaven, and the reason why King speaks of it so dearly is because all his work has formed a somewhat atonement between the human race and Heaven.
What made him take action?
The Montgomery Bus Boycott was one of the major events in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. It signaled that a peaceful protest could result in the changing of laws to protect the equal rights of all people regardless of race.
Before 1955, segregation between the races was common in the south. This meant that public areas such as schools, rest rooms, water fountains, and restaurants had separate areas for black people and white people. This was also true of public transportation such as buses and trains. There were areas where black people could sit and other areas where white people could sit.
On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks was taking the bus home from work in Montgomery, Alabama. She was already sitting down and was in the row closest to the front for black people. When the bus began to fill up, the driver told the people in Rosa's row to move back in order to make room for a white passenger. Rosa was tired of being treated like a second class person. She refused to move. Rosa was then arrested and fined $10.
Although other people had been arrested for similar infractions, it was Rosa's arrest that sparked a protest against segregation. Civil rights leaders and ministers got together to organize a day to boycott the buses. That meant that for one day black people would not ride the buses. They picked December 5th. They handed out pamphlets so people would know what to do and on December 5th around 90% of black people in Montgomery did not ride the buses.
The boycott was planned at a meeting in Martin Luther King's church. They formed a group called the Montgomery Improvement Association with Martin Luther King as the leader. After the first day of the boycott, the group voted to continue the boycott. King made a speech about the boycott where he said "If we are wrong, the Supreme Court is wrong, the Constitution is wrong, God Almighty is wrong." This links to Martin's relationship with Christianity - since it shows Martin's belief in the movement can compare to his faith (God Almighty is wrong). It ramifies that Martin is prepared to accuse his God of being wrong for the good of the Civil Rights Movement - while also showing everyone involved in the Bus Boycott that he is passionate about the protests. It also shows that his Christian faith helped him through the journey - because he trusts his God just as much as he trusts the movement.
The Bus Boycott was soon to big a protest for the government to ignore - so on June 4th, 1956 black people were finally allowed to sit wherever they wanted on the bus. As well as this, MLK was voted Civil Rights Movement Leader.
Nevertheless, Some white people were not happy with the boycott. The government got involved and indicted many of the leaders that they were interfering with a business. MLK was ordered to pay a $500 fine and ended up getting arrested for two weeks in jail.
Some of the white citizens turned to violence. They firebombed MLK's home as well as several black churches. Sometimes the boy-cotters were attacked while walking. Despite this, King was adamant that the protests remain non-violent. In a speech to some angry protesters he said "We must love our white brothers, no matter what they do to us." Again, this echoes his Christian influence of "love your enemy" from the Good Samaritan.
MLK's impact on
Obama believes his success in attaining being the USA's President is a testament to the dedication of King, and that he would not be the current where he was today if it were not for their willingness to persevere through repeated imprisonments, bomb threats and blasts from fire hoses. It also would inspire Obama if he were ever in that situation: if you know that you have something worth fighting for (ie, Civil Rights or your country) then it gives you the bravery you need to carry on and not return with violence.
King's dream didn't die with him. Many believe it came true in 2008 when Obama became the first black man Americans ever elected as their president.
An example of Obama trying to continue MLK's legacy of non-violence is when he recently freed over a hundred felons from prison, since they only committed small, non-violent crimes. Again, his act also supports the Christian teaching of "love your enemy" - since in theory those who break his country's law are somewhat his enemies.
What Barack Obama can learn from MLK:
To try and prevent violence as much as possible
To love your enemy
To work hard to prevent any segregation or discrimination
Obama could do this by supporting his country as well as all the others - even ones which are supposedly the USA's "enemy". He could support any further Civil Rights Movement in the modern day and ensure that everyone - no matter what race or religion - is treated with equality. I think this would be incredibly successful since Obama would begin to eliminate prejudice and greed, humanity's main cause of violence and war.
The powerful voice of MLK was silenced when he was killed, but almost fifty years later, his ideas are still a source of inspiration for people who seek peace and justice. Martin Luther King inspired hundreds of thousands of people in the United States - and across the world - into actions against racism, to end poverty, and for peace. He led waves of courageous ordinary people on the streets of the South, from the bus boycott to the Freedom Rides.
Above all, he encouraged understanding, peace, justice, and honesty among people; treating everyone as equals regardless of physical, social, or economic reasons.
What we can learn from Martin Luther King:
Things don't always go to plan
MLK's "I have a Dream" had the largest amount of protesters in Washington to date
Always be passionate
“I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
The human race is a team
The idea that a person would consider their actions in relation to how those actions impact the world? That’s a philosophy that we could all stand to learn a little from.
“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” – Martin Luther King
Small things can make a big difference
When Rosa Parks was arrested for also refusing to move, King led the Bus Boycott, which lasted for over a year. Over the duration of the campaign not only was King’s house bombed, he was also arrested. But because of that campaign the government ruled to end racial segregation. A small step, or a milestone in the Civil Rights Movement?
Violence is not the answer
MLk became absolutely convinced that justice and racial equality would be achieved through the use of nonviolent resistance.
King was more than just a black preacher from the south that carried the cause of his people’s suffering. He was a well-educated, confident man who, above all - was incredibly brave. He could speak to the minds as well as the hearts of the many Americans that were listening to him; even though many were filled with hate and threatened to kill him. Having the ability to risk your life for others is not a common trait, but Martin believed everyone had the ability to do so. Beyond his words, he strove to practice what he preached.
More than most Americans of faith, he was able to put his faith into practical action. More than most Christians in America, he was able to practice loving of one’s enemy. Even many ministers are truly challenged when it comes to substantially practicing such an teaching from Jesus.
Martin Luther King was incredibly kind and selfless, and he dedicated his entire life for the good of others.
In my opinion I feel that MLK was a better, more prominent advocate for the Civil Rights Movement. I feel this way because he was a peaceful leader, he supported a non-violence approach and he wanted all races to come together and form equality. If society followed through with Malcolm X’s approach for segregation (and for races to be separated) the world would definitely be a more separated place full of biased beliefs and no equality. Because of MLK’s peaceful approach he is well respected all over the world, by many races. If it weren't for him, we would not be where we are now.
Even though MLK's legacy still carries on today, racism is still a current, even large issue. Racism mostly occurs in America because - even though this seems counter-factual - of MLK, or more specifically, his opposition. All the mixed opinions are passed down from generation to generation, so there will always inevitably be racism because we are all human and we are all different. But this doesn't mean that racism can't be reduced. Racism will stop when certain members of their respective race stop reinforcing the stereotypes. Racism will stop when certain members of their respective race stop reinforcing the stereotypes. Take black people for instance. Black people are perfectly normal. People aren't born with hatred. Hatred is something we learn from our community, and from our family. A newborn child doesn't care about skin colour, race or sexual orientation. In my opinion, if humanity stopped seeing differences as a problem and learned to love them - the world could become a very peaceful place.
My video on the Afghanistan Conflict
The conflict was caused by racism and discrimination. The Taliban thought that they were better than the western race - and thought that their duty from God was to purify the world and destroy western civilization.
How can MLK help us solve this?
If King has just taught us one thing: it is to never fight back with violence, and sacrifice yourself for the greater good and what you believe in. To use his methods to resolve the Afghanistan conflict, there are two non-violent options. One is to get serious about negotiations with the Taliban. A settlement the United States could live with would require hard political engineering in Kabul, yet the administration has not followed through. This would support Jesus' teaching of "love your enemy" - since in theory the USA would be giving the Taliban something they wanted and needed (ie, the Good Samaritan).
Additionally, another solution would be for the USA to remove it's troops entirely from Afghanistan. Withdrawal might damage the United States' prestige, but so would a slow-motion version of the same defeat - only at a greater cost in blood and treasure. Again, this supports non-violence and self-belief (MLK teachings) - since walking away from a conflict causes just as much bravery as to stay and fight.
"We have to recognize that Afghanistan will not be a perfect place, and it is not America's responsibility to make it one, it's harder to end wars than it is to begin them. But this is how wars end in the 21st century: not through signing ceremonies but through decisive blows against our adversaries, transitions to elected governments, security forces who are trained to take the lead and ultimately full responsibility - but we must take care not to damage the Taliban further.
Barack Obama outlined a plan to withdraw all but 9,800 American troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year and pull out the rest by the end of 2016.
Within Obama's speech, he makes plenty of references both to Christianity's and MLK's beliefs. Firstly, he states that what they are trying to achieve isn't easy - but it takes small, decisive steps to make a difference. MLK knew what he was trying to do was hard, but he never gave up. Secondly, Obama states: "It is harder to end wars than to begin them" - which MLK supported since they both knew that anybody can start, but it takes a brave person to carry on or finish a protest/conflict. Nevertheless, Obama has adapted his ways to the modern day: "But this is how wars end in the 21st century" - while knowing that he doesn't have to stick to the rulebook ("decisive blows"). This links to both MLK and Jesus' teachings - since all knew the problems they faced in the current day, but also knew that that they could be creative and make their own rules to create a better tomorrow. Finally, Obama says: "But we must take care not to damage the Taliban further" - which ramifies that Obama is a strong-believer in non-violence and believes that we're all in this together ("WE must"). This shows that his beliefs and teachings follow MLK's footsteps closely.