Discrimination and unfair treatments were a common practice faced by African Americans since the era of slavery and the quest for liberation. The majority of the African Americans were subjected to racism and lynching. The majority of the blacks were treated as second-class citizens based on their skin color in a society dominated by whites. However, in the early twentieth century, human rights activists emerged among African Americans to fight for fair treatment. For example, Ida Wells, Malcolm X, and Michael Luther King Jr., commonly known as Martin, were among the activists that believed all people were created equal. This paper evaluates the claim of Martin Luther King Jr. on whether injustices can be resisted through nonviolent actions.
Racial segregation against minority ethnic groups such as the blacks was a common practice in the early 1900s. However, Martin Luther King believed in resisting racial injustices through peaceful demonstration. For example, Martin organized and led a nonviolent demonstration in Alabama to lobby the federal government to allow the blacks to have a right to vote. The peaceful demonstration at Alabama shows that racial injustices in society can be addressed through nonviolent actions by the participants. Thus, Martin’s actions to lead nonviolent demonstrations yielded positive results in society.
“I Have a Dream,” is a famous speech by Martin Luther King that moved American society and the whole world. Martin believed in engaging with the oppressors to address racial injustices faced by the minority ethnic groups in the U.S. His famous speech was delivered in a peaceful march at Washington D.C. (“Martin Luther King: I Have A Dream Speech Text: Full Transcript”, 2020). Additionally, Martin delivered his speech to over 250,000 people present at the peaceful demonstration. Therefore, Martin’s mode of fighting injustices illustrates that he believed in nonviolent actions that would yield results and prevent possible injuries or harm to demonstrators.
Civil rights movements and associations play a significant role in advocating for human rights. During the twentieth century, the majority of African American activists used the civil rights movement to pressure the government to take action on issues that affected society. Martin Luther King believed in a dialogue as a way to agree or disagree without violence. For example, Martin joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as a member of the executive committee. His action to join the civil rights group depicts his nonviolent action in the quest to fight racial injustices. Rather than fighting the oppressors and causing havoc in society, Martin’s move to use the civil rights movement became successful.
Knowledge is one of the elements of enlightenment that impart hope to the oppressed in society. Martin Luther King knew that violence will result in more deaths. Moreover, Martin understood that influencing the government to accept the minority ethnic groups as equals to the dominating ethnic group would have a long-term result. Thus, Martin Luther King used his speech, “I have a Dream,” to enlighten the minds of all races in society. For example, in paragraph seven, Martin asserts, “We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence,” (“Martin Luther King: I Have A Dream Speech Text: Full Transcript”, 2020). Martin uses a nonviolent strategy to calm the people. Therefore, freedom does not require violent acts.
Martin Luther King: I Have A Dream Speech Text: Full Transcript. (2020, September 30). Our Luther King. Retrieved March 12, 2021, from https://ourlutherking.com/i-have-a-dream-speech-text/