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The Swinging Sixties: A Time Of Civil Resistance

1253 words - 6 pages

“Free at last” were the words of a legendary man who would later inspire change throughout the world. Through his panoply of work, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. challenged the popular idea of African Americans being of less status than “white men”. His I Have a Dream speech is recognized across the world, not only as inspiration for blacks everywhere, but also as a prime example of non-violent civic activism. King’s main objective was to achieve the equality that blacks had been deprived of. He discussed the issues of racial discrimination, segregation, and political and economic justice by means of public speeches that spanned throughout America. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man willing to challenge the status quo by disassociating himself from the unified beliefs of his generation.
Through his rhetoric use of language, he was able to expose blacks to the true meaning behind the degrading behaviors that they’ve endured for many years. African Americans have been the target of racial discrimination whether it was in the form of segregation, political or economical injustice. It was primarily in the 1960s when King campaigned most extensively. Events such as the Montgomery bus boycott, in which the African American community boycotted all Montgomery city buses due to segregation, were ones that helped catalyze his campaign. Figures such as Rosa Parks, who was involved in the bus boycott, helped create the face of this movement. Stemming from the segregation of blacks in society, there was also an unjust treatment in political and economical issues. Those of colour were not eligible to vote under the constitutional voting rights. This made the segregation much more widespread across the US as it affected African Americans on a larger scale concerning civil rights.
After the American civil war, the 13th Amendment to the US constitution was ratified. This freed all slaves and gave them the opportunity to become part of the white society as a whole and gain equal rights. Though few white Americans accepted them, many did not want to associate themselves with those of colour, and therefore created a barrier. This caused an environment in which African Americans felt as though they were “languished in the corners of American society” (King). Due to this barrier, oppression was felt through the black community. There was lack of hope but through his campaign, Martin Luther King was able to restore the optimism that had been lost. He had a vision in which all men were equal. In his speech, King suggests that whites and blacks are the same when he says “[white America] have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with [black America’s] destiny” (King). He also goes on to say that he wants “to make justice a reality for all of God’s children” (King). His ability to relate ideas back to religion is partially responsible for the success of this speech.
Martin Luther King was able to use biblical references as a way of conveying his message to his...

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