Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Legacy
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s search for equality began during a the 1950’s, a time when African Americans living in America were not given the same civil liberties that Caucasian Americans were given. Although slavery had been abolished for some time, all races were not treated equally. King’s goal was to confront America’s racist policies, and change them using nonviolent methods. King used the teachings of Thoreau, Mohandas Gandhi, and The Bible to aid him in the development and implementation of nonviolent methods of protest and civil disobedience, in an attempt to gain basic civil rights for African Americans. During the time period that King worked to gain civil rights, he was confronted with racism, jail time, and was eventually assassinated.
Today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is looked upon as a social reformer, a freedom fighter, and, much like his inspirations Gandhi and Thoreau, an example of the effectiveness of non-violent methods. King’s ability to drastically change America’s viewpoint about people of color is an example of how effective non-violent movements can be. King’s hard work and determination allowed him flourish as a civil rights activist in the mid 1950’s until 1968. “In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile he wrote five books as well as numerous articles.” 1
King became the moving force in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He was also the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which worked to eliminate segregation and other racist policies. King aided with the March on Washington, which helped influence Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act in 1964.2 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr used his personal philosophies, knowledge, and influence to help change many racist and bigoted policies in America. His speeches caused...