Searching for an essay?

Browse the database of more than 4500 essays donated by our community members!

Martin Luther King Jr Essay

martin luther king jr essay

Example #1 – A Drive for Justice

“I have a dream, that one day little black boys and black girls will join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sister and brother.” (de Kay 75) Martin Luther King Jr.

During the past century, the United States of America has wrestled with the problem of inequality between black and white people. Two influential people who helped to combat racism and the inequality of man were Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X had two differentiated approaches to accomplish the same things for black.

Both King and Malcolm X started their own organizations, organized rallies, and both gave speeches, but, their beliefs and theories were extreme opposites. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi and peaceful ways through speeches and rallies. Martin Luther King Jr. was also a man of peace and freedom and was the leader of the Christian Leadership Conference.

Writing service




[Rated 96/100]

Prices start at $12
Min. deadline 6 hours
Writers: ESL
Refund: Yes

Payment methods: VISA, MasterCard, American Express


[Rated 94/100]

Prices start at $11
Min. deadline 3 hours
Writers: ESL, ENL
Refund: Yes

Payment methods: VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover


[Rated 91/100]

Prices start at $12
Min. deadline 3 hours
Writers: ESL, ENL
Refund: Yes

Payment methods: VISA, MasterCard, JCB, Discover

Although Malcolm X also did rallies and speeches, he adopted and studied the teachings of the black Muslim leader, Elijah Muhammad, which led him to result in violence, trying to get blacks the same equal rights as whites.

He went from place to place trying to develop racial pride in his black listeners by recognizing the suffering whites caused by blacks. Even though some people may believe in one what while others may believe in others, Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy of peaceful ways and positive reasoning so blacks could get the same rights as everyone was much more effective compared to Malcolm X’s philosophy of aggression.

Many people thought that Malcolm X’s philosophies became more effective than those of Martin Luther King Jr. because he tried to join whites and blacks together. But, because of his radical and violent ways, King was by far away from a better leader. Malcolm X was a man who supported violence in getting equal rights for black citizens.

To do this, he assisted the national Muslim leader, Elijah Muhammad by sharing the Black Muslim beliefs throughout the United States. Malcolm X started many Muslim groups and worked hard to develop racial pride in his black listeners by recognizing the suffering whites caused by blacks.

With the Black Muslims, Malcolm X practiced vigorous self-defense against white violence. He also urged blacks to live separately from whites and prevented them from attaining their freedom. He affected his followers so much that when his followers would see white people they would often harass or hurt the white people.

Through his travels in the Middle East and Africa, he began to realize and change his views regarding potential brotherhood between black and white Americans and rejected the view that all whites were devils. (Harris 99) He thought that one day his religion could unite people of all races.

To do this he formed his own group, The Organization of Afro-American Unity. Many people, both black and whites admired his tireless efforts to build pride in blacks, and whoever shared his dreams that someday everyone would be joined in brotherhood.

Malcolm X was admired by many people because of his drive to unite the blacks and whites as one, but many people also condemned him as a hypocrite and traitor because of his change in views. Malcolm X was a man not sure in his views, so later in his life, he resorted to peace and loving ways. (de Kay 16) On February 21, 1965, while speaking in a rally in Harlem, he was shot and killed.

Coming from a different perspective, Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most powerful African American leaders the world has ever had, diligently worked to unite the two races as one by peaceful and nonviolent methods.

Devoting his life to fight for the right of every black American and also disliked the public, King defeated the odds and led blacks into rallies, marches, and many other nonviolent protests to get blacks on the right track for equal rights. (Hakim 102) His non-violent attitude is what stood a stand in history.

Martin Luther King Jr., after studying under the teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi, learned about campaigns of passive, nonviolent resistance called “passive resistance”. (de Kay 26,27) An example of this was that Gandhi too was living under the same cruel and unfair laws.

The way they fought these laws was that they broke them; when the police threw them in jail, they didn’t fight back. Sooner or later, jail cells would fill up and when there was no room left, they would have to change the laws. Through dedication and hard work, King found out he could accomplish the same thing as Gandhi without hurting or killing anyone.

Later in 1955, King uses the same methods as Gandhi. He started a boycott of the segregated city buses because of a lady named Rosa Parks; this was his first action toward equality. Parks didn’t want to leave her seat so they arrested her and threw her in jail. Every black heard of this and was furious. Soon, the word boycott spread really fast.

The only problem was that it would only work if no one rode on the buses. The other problem was how would everyone find out about the boycott. Late that night King stayed up to make fliers and give it away in parts of the city where black people lived.

See also  Abortion Pros And Cons Essay

Even though they couldn’t reach everybody, luckily a newspaper editor heard about the boycott and wrote an article about it on the front page of the newspaper. Later, he was elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association where he got involved in speeches and rallies to fight the Jim Crow laws. (de Kay 12) The Jim Crow laws were special laws created by whites so blacks could not receive the same rights.

Even though King was treated violently, he responded in peace, no matter what happened to him. He said, ?if you have weapons, take them home. We must meet our white brothers? hate with love.? (de Kay 48)

After black Americans had beaten the Jim Crow laws, they wondered if they could fight other laws concerning segregation. King and black ministers met to form a new group to fight segregation. The group was called the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, or SCLC. King was elected president and to encourage blacks to support nonviolence.

Did he tell them to act? calm and with dignity?. (de Kay 49) He told them not to obey the unfair laws; they much have the courage to refuse and sooner or later the with leaders would get tired and change the laws. Since this was the way Gandhi won, he believed in it.

King also believed in sit-ins, this was when people who were not allowed to eat in a certain restaurant sat down and waited to be served, even though they knew they would not be served they just sat there. Those people got harassed and taunted but because of their courage to refuse, white leaders gave in, and again blacks had won another battle. (Harris 78)

Lather after the sit-ins came to the “freedom rides”. This was sit-ins on buses traveling from state to state where segregation still existed. Martin Luther King Jr. did not win in Albany, but he learned something very important. He couldn?t fight a city with a couple of people he needed an army. This was when he took a huge step toward the massive march in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.

People, both blacks and whites marched in numbers over 250,000 people. (de Kay 73) When they reached, many black leaders gave speeches, but King gave a speech that America will never forget. With meaningful power, he said,?I have a dream. Those words shook the nation causing an emotional breakdown of tears. Many people felt that there was hope for racial unity. It was a day that would never be forgotten by anyone who was there.

In October of 1964, the government of Norway declared that Martin Luther King Jr. was the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He took back to America the medal and 54,000 dollars; he gave that money to the civil rights groups. When receiving the medal, he declared that the prize was not just for him?? it was for all men who loved peace and brotherhood.? (de Kay 83)

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee, while sitting on the porch with his friends. On April 7, the president declared a day of national mourning. People all over the world wept; people of all races and colors came to see the burial of a great man. Now, January 15 is a national holiday.

Martin Luther King Jr., a man of impressive moral presence who devoted his life to fighting for the rights of the poor, disadvantaged, and racially oppressed in the United States. (Hakim 48) After studying the teaching of Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. sought a way to obtain equal rights without hurting or killing anyone. Knowing this, he took into consideration the peaceful rallies and speeches which led him to believe that peace and love among our brothers would combat the racism.

Martin Luther King, not only believed in equal rights for everyone but most importantly, he had a dream. His dream was that one-day whites and blacks could live as one in happiness. Winning the Nobel Peace Prize was not important to King. To him, justice was important. (de Kay 104) He called himself a drum major for justice?. (de Kay 104)


Example #2

Martin Luther King Jr. is a well known and inspiring man to all cultures of the world. King was and still is one of the most influential heroes. King ‘s views and believes helped African Americans through the 50s and 60s to the rights and liberties that was their right.

King faced many obstacles on his journey, things like jail and even assassination attempts. Despite these obstacles, he became a successful leader during the Civil Rights Movement and after his death, by guiding African Americans in a non-violent and positive direction for the fight to secure rights and equality for blacks. Martin Luther King Jr. was…

During this time he was awarded five honorary degrees and was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963 and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure. ( “The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.”) Early in our county’s history, almost all black people came here as slaves.

Because people in the South felt they needed cheap labor in building land and because black people in Africa knew how to farmland like the ones in the South, they were taken from their homes and forced to come to America.

Arriving in this county, they were sold to whites as slaves without rights or freedom. IN 1776, the American Colonies declared their freedom from Great Britain. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson writes that “all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable right; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” He declared that all citizens have their rights and equal opportunities in pursuing their goals.

See also  I Have A Dream Speech Analysis Essay

Efforts to give black people their rights never stopped, but the changes were not enough. After War II, many people felt that new laws were needed. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that blacks and whites could go to the same schools. However, Simmons 4 many people still did not want to change. It took a strong leader, a person who believed in peace and justice for blacks, and Martin Luther King Jr. was that man.


Example #3

Martin Luther King Jr. lost his life trying to better the lives of African-American people. He was one of the greatest American Civil Rights leaders of the 1960s. He was born in 1929 in the city of Atlanta, Georgia. His father was a minister at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. At fifteen Martin Luther King Jr. was enrolled at Moorehouse College. He graduated from there in 1948, and, like his father wanted to become a minister.

Martin Luther King Jr. married Corretta Scott in 1953 while doing graduate work at Boston Graduate School. They had four kids and they were together until his death. In 1955, he completed his work at Boston Graduate School and got his Ph.D. By this time Martin Luther King Jr. was a well-known Civil Rights Activist who was attempting to get rid of discrimination and to overthrow the unfair segregation laws in the South.

In 1956, a bomb was thrown on to the porch of Martin Luther King Jr’s house. Again in 1956, another bomb was thrown onto his porch, luckily, both times the bombs did not explode. In 1956, King was also arrested on charges of hindering the operation of buses without legal cause.

In 1958, he published a book called “Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story”. In 1960, King moved to Atlanta with his family and becomes the co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, his father’s old church. In 1962, Martin Luther King Jr. was convicted of leading a march in Albany.

He made a famous speech that is known as the “I Have a Dream” speech. That speech was an inspiration to millions of African-American people. Martin Luther King Jr. led a protest against segregated buses. It started when an older lady named Rosa Parks, who is now famous for not giving up her seat, was arrested. Martin Luther King Jr. was a very powerful speaker.

He knew how to lead protests, and how to get people involved. He is the main reason for the equal rights between races that we have today. King was elected the leader of a group called the Montgomery Improvement Association.

After the protests started by the Rosa Parks issue, Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged others to boycott the segregated buses also. After the protests ended, angry white people tried to kill Martin Luther King Jr., by bombing his house. The attempts were unsuccessful.

To make the battle against nonviolence stronger, Martin Luther King Jr. and many other African-American ministers formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

During the sixties, young African-American College boys started sitting at the “white” tables. The protests were broken up by the southern police, who used police dogs and fire hoses. The violence and drama of the protests were shown on television and President Kennedy proposed a bill to deal with this to Congress. Soon after the segregation laws were withdrawn.

In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was giving a speech in Memphis, Tennessee, called “I’ve been to the mountain top,” in front of a huge crowd, when an escaped convict, named James Earl Ray shot him. The speech was for striking African-American garbage men.

He died on April 4, 1968. The assassin was convicted and sentenced to only nine years in jail. Today, in January on his birthday, we have a national holiday to celebrate his work called Martin Luther King Day.


Example #4

Martin Luther King, Jr., was a very strong person, constantly fighting for what he believed in, which was equality for African Americans. He was not scared to stand up and tell the world what he wanted for society. He was fearless and did everything in his power to prove a point. Martin Luther King, Jr., was the strongest individual of his time, for he fought until death, which proves how much he was willing to risk his life to make the world an equal place.

Growing up, he had a very interesting early life. Martin Luther King, Jr., was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929 ( Staff). He was baptized in May of 1936 ( Editors). He grew up with his brother and his sister, and was raised by his mom, Alberta, and…

He finished high school as the student body president and valedictorian of his class ( Editors). He later went to college at Morehouse, an all-male, black college, where he studied law and medicine and got his Ph.D. when he was only twenty-five years old ( Editors). Being smart and going to college helped him become a minister and preach about his beliefs.

Preaching helped him speak to people who wanted to know what he wanted. Martin Luther King Jr. found people who wanted to listen to him and explained his dreams. His careers really took off after that. He had a lot more followers and spoke more often. His most famous speech is “I Have a Dream…” ( Staff). On August 28, 1963, over 250,000 came to listen to him speak this famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial (Yan).

See also  Muhammad Ali Essay

In this speech, he talked about everything he wanted for society. In the speech he claims, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” (Yan).

He also stated that African Americans should not be content with the way they were being treated and that they did not deserve the awful things they were receiving (Yan). This Nobel Peace Prize-winning speech was not a literal dream; it was simply an expectation or belief ( Staff). Martin Luther King, Jr…


Example #5 – Martin Luther King Jr. and Affirmative Action

According to the Merriam-Webster New World Dictionary, Affirmative Action is defined as an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups or women. To put that definition in English, it means a program designed to help either minorities or women achieve equal rights, as with the rest of the population. In this case, the minorities are being discussed, or to be less broad the African Americans.

?I have a dream today.? This is a famous quote by one of histories most famous and influential civil rights activists of all time, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Being a civil rights activist, Dr. King wanted nothing more than for his people, the African Americans, to have equality. In the effort to gain equality, there were four steps he took. The first step was the collection of facts. In other words, this meant that they would identify the justices and the injustices. The second step in Dr. King?s plan was negotiation.

To make that simpler, the negotiation was actually a compromise on the part of the African Americans. The third step in his plan was self-purification. In doing this, the African Americans would get together in prayer and they would sing the psalms. The fourth and final step in Dr. King?s plan was non-violent direct action. Dr. King and his people tried each and every one of these steps, but sadly none of them were successful.

Like Hillary Clinton and Howard Stern, in my opinion, Martin Luther King Jr. and Affirmative Action just would not mix. Dr. King wanted to earn civil rights he didn’t want them handed to him. That?s why the term is noted as the “fight for civil rights.” The word “earn” in this sense is pretty vague. What Dr. King wanted was for his people to “earn” their rights.

He would probably argue that affirmative action was a “handout” which isn’t what he wanted. Dr. King simply wanted the cooperation of the white in the African American achievement of equal rights. No fights or handouts, just cooperation. ?King understood that racial power subverts moral power and he pushed the principles of fairness and equality, rather than black power because he believed those principles would bring blacks their most complete liberation.? Shelby Steele.

The opposition might argue that Dr. King wanted so desperately for his people to be free and equal that he would eventually back down and let affirmative action take its course. But that wasn’t his style. Dr. King was all about equal rights for all people, peace, and freedom. If you can say that allowing an African American to fight for his rights and not standing in his way is considered Affirmative Action, then that is the only kind Dr. King would have supported. Otherwise, he would be strictly against it.

A definition of “reverse?” is the opposite of a previous or normal condition.? If you put that word with  “racism,” you have the product of Affirmative Action. Affirmative Action can easily be pinned as reverse racism. Say you were given two men, the same age, the same education, and the same qualifications. Qualifications mean to fit by skill or training for some purpose.

With affirmative action, the black man would automatically get the job, simply based on his color. That is a problem with affirmative action, it judges a person on what they are, not who they are. This would totally contradict Dr. King. ?I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by their character.? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

?We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is very evident that Dr. King was a fighter. In fact, he fought until the day he died for his people. And all he fought for was the chance for his people to get a cup of coffee at the same lunch counter as a white man.

Cite this page

Choose cite format:
Martin Luther King Jr Essay. (2020, Aug 01). Retrieved February 7, 2023, from