I asked some moderators where the old OP/ED should go, since they use to go in the ATSNN section. This is what replaced it, so I can only assume that
this is where it goes. If not, please move to the appropriate place.
The History Of A Leader
On August 28th, 1963, the world gathered around one man, and took the time to listen. This man, a seemingly ordinary man, born in Atlanta Georgia,
would go down in history as one of the few great men to change this nation. Some called him a visionary, to others, a symbol of hope, and others at
the time, a menace to society. Regardless of the labels people in society attempted to give him, his goals were clear, and his effect was long
This man is Martin Luther King Jr., and in this article, I will go into why he had the impact he did, and how his message still applies today.
To many, Martin Luther King Day may just be another national holiday in which they get to take off of work or school. A day they use to relax. I ask
you though, to listen to why this man has earned himself a national holiday, and why it is important to recognize his achievements.
Up until the 1960’s, civil rights as a whole, were often disregarded when the law saw fit. Whether you were African American, Caucasian, Asian, etc.
it did not matter. Though it was much harder to get away with wronging a white man in that type of society, it was not impossible, and few did much to
right a wrong when rights were violated.
Martin Luther King Jr. started his activism in the mid 50’s, by leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Up until 1955 Alabama’s buses has a special
arrangement for seating black passengers. They would have to sit in the back of the bus to make room for white people who needed seating. Rosa Parks
was made famous by an incident where she refused to move to the back of the bus, and thus getting arrested. This sparked the Boycott, which King
ultimately would lead.
In this Boycott, anyone who supported the Boycott to end segregation on the bus was asked to refrain from riding the buses. This would cause economic
distress for the busing companies who heavily relied on the fare of said passengers. Many attempts were made to end the Boycott, including arresting
protesters. King was among those arrested. He had this to say.
"I was proud of my crime," he said later. "It was the crime of joining my people in a nonviolent protest against injustice."
The Boycott stood against the hate and prejudice of segregation and eventually the Supreme Court ruled the segregation of the buses in Alabama to be
unconstitutional. This was the first win for King and the civil rights movement, but it would not be the last.
The Albany Movement was another protest widely regarded as a win for King. In Albany Georgia, segregation was rampant, and King came to give counsel
as to how they could overcome this segregation. Unfortunately, a series of events occurred at a peaceful protest, landing many in jail, including
King. King was let out on bail, and when he returned to town, he was arrested and sentenced to forty-five days in jail or a 178 dollar fine. He chose
the jail time. Not even a week into his time, the local officials had his fine paid and they had him released.
A quote of the events was as follows:
"We had witnessed persons being kicked off lunch counter stools ... ejected from churches ... and thrown into jail ... But for the first time, we
witnessed being kicked out of jail.”
This added to the wins that King had made for the civil rights movement. It is acts such as these that make King such an important figure in history.
These events, simple acts of courage, are what changed the history of this nation. The effects of his actions are obvious and far reaching.
King Was Not Alone
It is always important to note that King was never alone in his battles against civil injustice. His support was strong and unwavering. It would be
wrong to characterize King as the only person to have sacrificed for the civil rights movement. Countless people were arrested in movements, many
severely beaten and violated. Some were killed, much like King was, for standing for what they believed in. King stood tall with many others, who also
believed in non-violent civil disobedience as a way to right the wrongs that were occurring around the country.
That is why it worked.
Without the belief that one man can make a difference, many of them would not have followed, many would not have sacrificed, and the civil rights
movement would have died. It was the idea that it was possible to band together and strive for the same goal, that one man could make a difference, if
another man agreed to help him with that goal. That no injustice was ever answered to by the stand of a single man, but the stand of many. King did
not stand alone; he inspired other to stand with him. We must inspire others to stand with us when we see injustice, because we alone cannot stop
MLK Jr. Today: Why It Should Matter To You
You take a look around at the world today, and there are no shortages of injustice being committed abroad and even here at home. Corporations looking
to exploit the average man at every turn, make scrupulous decisions that endanger lives and disenfranchise the poor of the communities they exist in.
Governments around the world slaughter countless innocent people in the name of holy wars, and entitlement to land. Some governments oppress their
people, and refuse them the most basic of rights we take for granted.
People often ask, “What rights have you lost?” and I cannot help but ask “What rights do others never get afforded?” People will ask, “What
dangers do you have to face?” and I must ask them “What dangers must other innocent people face on a daily basis?” Some may ask, “Why does it
matter to you what that corporation does?” and my gut tells me to ask them “Why doesn’t it matter to you?”
People often look at the civil rights movement, and go “Our government does treat us equal, our rights do remain in tact.” But that is not the
point that I get at. The point that I get at is this. It is because our rights are in tact that we must act for others, who do not have such rights.
We must act for others who face the physical and psychological dangers that we are do not have to face. We must act for the people being exploited,
because for the time being, we are afforded the ability to do what they cannot.
Most feel that we have been widely successful in defending and achieving equality and freedom here in the United States. It is time that we start to
think about others, rather than our own rights and equalities. Yes, today we are free, and we are equal, but many are not, and if we are to stop here,
there is no guarantee that in the future, our rights, freedoms, and equality, will still be afforded to us. If we do not stand against inequality,
injustice, and violence everywhere, we do not stand against it anywhere.
Today is the day we are asked to remember Martin Luther King Jr. and what he did to change this great nation. Today I ask you to think about what he
did and ask yourself what you can do to change other nations, or other communities, that are not afforded the things you take for granted. I ask that
you think about the rights that they are not afforded, or the violence that they are not spared from, because they do not have the ability to stand to
it. Today I ask that you remember what Martin Luther King Jr. did, and strive to continue where he left off, because we are all human beings, and at
the end of the day, we all deserve a chance.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all
men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down
together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will
be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
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.
I have a dream today!
(visit the link for the full news article)
[edit on 19-1-2009 by grimreaper797]