Civil Rights and Martin Luther King

My previous essay was primarily related to the problem of inequity existing in American society. In particular, I focused on the hardships faced by young adults. Many of these individuals continuously have to struggle with poverty. In turn, one should pay more attention to the underlying causes of this phenomenon. Furthermore, it is necessary to explain how the community was able to eliminate some of the barriers that contributed to various forms of injustice in the United States. In particular, one should focus on the Civil Rights Movement and the work of Martin Luther King. This person was able to raise people’s awareness about the destructive impacts of racial discrimination (Reddie, 2011). Furthermore, he demonstrated that the situation had to be changed through the collective effort of many people who could not tolerate this unfairness (King, 2011)). To a large degree, the legacies of this discrimination are noticeable even nowadays (Smith, 2003). Overall, the study of this topic highlights certain mechanisms that marginalize some social groups and increase the risk of conflicts in the community. Moreover, political activism is essential for promoting the welfare of these marginalized groups.

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In the late fifties, African Americans had to struggle with various obstacles that prevented them from raising their social status. This argument can apply to various aspects such as employment, education, health care, the service in the U.S. Army, and so forth. Some policies underscored the inferior status of this social group. In part, these issues are discussed by Richard Reddie (2011) who tells the story of King’s life. This author exemplifies various forms of segregation. For instance, one can mention Montgomery, the city in which King began to serve as a pastor. In particular, only 4 percent of black people living in this community were registered as voters (Reddie, 2011, p. 45). Thus, they had no opportunity to influence the political life of the society (Reddie, 2011, p. 45). At the official level, there were no documents that legitimized the superiority of white people. American policy-makers emphasized the idea that black and white people had been separate, but equal. However, many legal practices contradicted this doctrine.

For instance, the schools in African-American neighborhoods were often underfunded. Furthermore, black people were allowed to do only menial jobs. Overall, the policy that existed during that time completely stifled the upward mobility of this social group. By discussing these issues, Richard Reddie (2011) enables the readers to understand the atmosphere of that period. In turn, Martin Luther King began to discuss these problems in public. Moreover, he strived to demonstrate that this situation could no longer be tolerated. One should keep in mind that at that time, his ideas were not readily accepted by American citizens. For instance, one can refer to the article written by Kevin Bruyneel. This author notes that only 33 percent of American people supported King’s views on politics (Bruyneel, 2014, p. 77). Admittedly, people’s attitudes have changed profoundly over the last 50 years (Bruyneel, 2014, p. 77). Thus, the ideas that are now taken for granted could seem revolutionary or outrageous in the middle of the twentieth century. King was viewed as “a confrontational and radical figure” in the sixties (Bruyneel, 2014, p. 75). So, the article written by Kevin Bruyneel should not be disregarded because it illustrates how public opinion can evolve with time passing.

It is important to note that King’s speech I Have a Dream can be viewed as an important turning point in the history of the United States. This event made people more aware of the difficulties that black people had to encounter daily (Reddie, 2011). Furthermore, the murder of this social activist demonstrated that racism was synonymous with gross injustice and cruelty. This tragedy shocked many people, even if they did not support King’s ideas. Many individuals accepted the ultimate goals of the Civil Rights Movement. Moreover, King’s activities proved that black people could become a vocal force in American politics. It is one of the impacts that can be identified. Certainly, one should not suppose that only this person can be credited with the profound transformation of American society. One should not disregard the role of many political activists who were courageous enough to join the Civil Rights Movement (King, 2011). For instance, one can mention Yale students who participated in the famous March on Washington (King, 2011). To a large degree, they increased the popularity of King’s ideas. Moreover, their participation made police reluctant to use force against the protesters (King, 2011). Thus, social injustice requires close cooperation of many stakeholders.

Additionally, this outcome can be explained by the transformation of existing legislation and changing practices of businesses. Moreover, much attention should be paid to the work of educators (Reddie, 2011). These professionals promoted the idea of diversity and respect for the representatives of different racial or ethnic groups. In this case, one should recognize the contribution of every individual who was willing to state that racial discrimination had not been ethically permissible (Bruyneel, 2014). Such a decision could result in the ostracism of these individuals. Thus, one had to have “a strong sense of justice” to take this step (King, 2011, p. 31). Their moral choices gradually contributed to the changes in people’s values and attitudes. It is one of the details that should be considered by those individuals who study the history of the Civil Rights Movement. However, the activities of Martin Luther King can be viewed as a critical starting point that legitimized the idea of racial equality in American society. Therefore, one can argue that this person played a pivotal role.

This discussion is important because the legacies of racial discrimination are still palpable in the United States. For instance, the dropout rates among black students are very high, especially in comparison with other groups. Additionally, these people are more likely to grow up in neighborhoods affected by poverty, crime, and drug abuse (Smith, 2003, p. 100). Similarly, one should pay much attention to such indicators as conviction and unemployment rates (Smith, 2003, p. 100). Thus, one should remember that some communities are more likely to be affected by social and economic inequalities. Indeed, one can argue that racial discrimination has been entirely prohibited by existing laws. For instance, companies may be forced to pay fines if they discriminate against employees based on race, gender, or ethnicity (Smith, 2003). Nevertheless, racism can still influence the attitudes of many people.

Therefore, they can be biased against African Americans. They can act in this way when they evaluate the moral character of an individual or his/her willingness to abide by existing laws (Reddie, 2011). So, one cannot turn a blind eye to this problem. Various stakeholders should ensure that the legacies of racial segregation do not affect the lives of modern people. This argument is particularly relevant if one refers to the work of legislators and educators. For instance, they should pay more attention to the work of schools in African-American neighborhoods. Certainly, the discussion of this issue is not sufficient for identifying every factor that prevents young people from climbing the social ladder. One should keep in mind that inequality can influence individuals who may differ in terms of their race, gender, or ethnicity. Thus, one should not focus only on the problems of African Americans. The lack of upward social mobility affects many young adults. Thus, other mechanisms should be taken into account by policy-makers. They may originate from inefficiencies in the functioning of educational organizations. These problems can also be explained by profound generational differences. So, these details should not be disregarded.

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Overall, the examples presented in this paper do not contradict the arguments put forward in the previous paper. Various barriers can prevent young from people becoming more prosperous. In turn, one should not overlook official or unofficial policies that put some social groups at a disadvantage (Bruyneel, 2014). For instance, researchers focus on the long-lasting impacts of racial segregation (Reddie, 2011). Thus, the government should retain such a policy as affirmative action that supports various minorities. This assignment has given me a better idea about the origins of social problems that currently affect the United States. By examining various social issues from a historical perspective, one can also understand how inequalities could be overcome. In particular, one should consider the pivotal role of social and political activism. Moreover, Martin Luther King can still be regarded as a role model.

Reference List

Bruyneel, K. (2014). The King’s Body: The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the Politics of Collective Memory. History & Memory, 26(1), 75-108.

King, C. (2011). Commitment, Consistency, and a Strong Sense of Justice: A Personal Memory of Marching with Martin Luther King. Business Renaissance Quarterly, 6(4), 31-40.

Reddie, R. (2011).Martin Luther King Jr: History Maker. New York, NY: Lion Books Smith, R. (2003).Encyclopedia of African American Politics. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing.

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