Essays on Civil Rights Movement

Essays on Civil Rights Movement

Start date: 1954
End date: 1968
Caused by: Racism, segregation, disenfranchisement, Jim Crow laws, socioeconomic inequality

The main aim of this research document is to locate a primary source and analyze its historical importance. In this case, the primary source chosen is “Martin Luther King Jr: Civil rights Leader” by Kristine Carlson Asselin. Where this journal talks about the life history of Martin Luther King mostly about his activities as a civil rights leader and his character. This journal relates to the class topic for it mostly discusses the rise and emergence of civil rights in American history.

Introduction to Martin Luther King

Dr. Martin Luther King is by far considered to be one of the most recognized and influential civil rights activists in history (Graham, 1991). The thesis of this document will majorly deal with the identification, analysis and determination of Dr. King's identity with special considerations to his actions, contents found in his speeches and the 'I have a dream' video speech (Superjsuh, 2006). Where the speeches will be used as the basic primary sources of the report and the online scholarly articles and journals will serve as the secondary sources of information (Washington, 1963). He was responsible for leading countless numbers of protests and demonstrations against the current American government demanding equality in human rights among the African-Americans and the Americans inclusive.

Though Dr. King portrayed several personal identities such as being a father, clergyman and an African-American, he was able in to incorporate all of these aspects in his fight and struggle (McGuire & Hutchings, 2007). First of all, Dr. Kings letter from Birmingham jail it can be observed that Dr. Kings is not only a simple clergyman but also a law obeying citizen for he provides several moral obligations expected of an individual by the general society when he stated that, 'an individual is not only legally required to follow and adhere only to laws but it is also to the moral responsibility of the individual to obey the just laws. While at the same time, an individual has the moral responsibility of ruling-out and disobeying the unjust laws.' Furthermore, the letter provided by Dr. King does seem to be supporting or promoting disobedience to all types of laws but only to the unfair and unjust ones. From 'letter from the Birmingham jail king's character can be portrayed to being caring and patriotic irrespective of him being the overall leader of most of the demonstrations and campaigns being led at the time (King, 2018). This has been identified from his quote which states, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.' Both the 'letter from a Birmingham jail' and the 'I have a dream speech' contents and sayings are convincing for Dr. King is able to provide several instances illustrating how widespread the issue and problem of inequality had spread throughout the nation. For example; the segregation of the African-Americans on the buses. Where it was a self-proclaimed law that the blacks should sit on the back of the buses away from the white individuals located at the front of the buses. As it can be identified from the actions and behavior of Dr. King, that Dr. King felt that being a human activist and fighting for equality among all and the observation and amendment of human rights to being the most important aspect of his identity as illustrated in his speech from 'I have a dream' and the 'letter from Birmingham' ('Letter from Birmingham,' 1891). Other scholarly articles as well state that the main identity that was used in displaying the actions of Dr. King was that of both a human rights activist as well as a civil rights activist.

Civil Rights Movement Background

It is in the period of 1955 when Dr. King initially started his activism on civil rights after being a witness on the means by which the 'blacks' or African-Americans were being segregated and treated on buses. It was a self-proclaimed law that the blacks should sit on the back of the buses away from the white individuals located at the front of the buses (Hall, 2016). it is during this period that Dr. King took to the street his ideologies, views, and belief regarding civil rights and equality among all citizens irrespective of their origin and skin color. And requested from his supporters that they should resolve to use non-lethal and violent means of problem-solving, such as peaceful demonstrations.

Dr. King was later on chosen and declared to be the president of the MIA, commonly identified as the Montgomery Improvement Association which was formed and developed during the period of the boycott. It is in this period that Dr. King's fame and popularity started to grow as he headed the demonstrations and boycotts. During his lifetime he was arrested several times and fined making a lot of enemies, some of which later resolved to violence as a means of putting pressure and trying to scare Dr. King to quit his actions. At one time Dr. King's house was reported to be firebombed. After this act of violence, the MIA later developed their motto that not a single hair on another individual should be harmed. This marked the beginning of the first peaceful demonstrations. From the undertakings from the civil rights movements and demonstrations, Dr. King felt that being a human activist as being his main identity.

The current state of America

In the United States, it is a federal republic in which Congress, the president, and several federal courts share powers that are mostly reserved for the national government as stated in the national constitution (Omi & Winant, 2016). The federal governments share with the state governments sovereignty. The executive branch happens to be headed by the president and is also formally independent of both the judiciary and the legislature. The president's set of advisor’s roles are served by the cabinet, which include the heads of executive departments and the vice president. While the powers of the legislative are vested in the two chambers of Congress, the house of representatives and the Senate.

The United States does have a vast majority of available opportunities available to almost everyone. Almost anyone can find a job if they put in a lot of effort and time to look for a job. Many individuals are deceived by some of the information of the high incomes earned by families with lawyers, doctors, business owners and any other high paying employment opportunity, but for the larger part of the population, the kinds of jobs the individuals have are able to sustain and the individuals can live off it (Nesse & Stearns, 2008). While it has been noted and recorded by recent research, that in several of the well-developed countries, it is sometimes impossible for someone to live off the jobs they have the ability to attain without their degrees.

Qualities of a good leader as portrayed by Martin Luther King

The background detailing the events and actions that occurred during the civil rights movement can best be used to describing how the primary sources, mainly the speech written by Martin Luther King himself, describe his identity. At the very beginning of his speech, Dr. Martin states that 'I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.' From this simple statement, it can be identified that Dr. Martin had certain leadership qualities that can be used to represent his identity. They include; political, courageous, visionary, challenging and humanitarian. Dr. King was able to demonstrate a variety of leadership qualities throughout his period when he was fighting for equality over basic human rights. He was able to display great courage, wisdom, and determination over his lifetime through his actions of challenging the integrity and activities of the authority with the use of the numerous protests and demonstrations that he started or participated in for a particular case or situation in which he believed in.


All of Dr. King's actions, speeches and behavior were intended in the provision of equality among all individuals irrespective of their color and origin. In the 'I have a dream speech, Dr. King I have seen to acknowledge the fact that only when equality has been provided will there be democracy in the country. He states that he fights in order to ensure that his children and grandchildren are not misjudged or mistreated simply due to the color of their skin.

Most of Dr. King's emphasis and beliefs with regards to his overall identity can be viewed and heard from his speeches and letters delivered throughout his lifetime, he is able to do this while stating the words, 'it's a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.' As Dr. King finishes his 'I dream' speech, he is seen and heard to be speaking in a loud, strong and authoritative voice the quote, ''Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!'

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We've found 33 essays on Civil Rights Movement
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